All nursing students take NUR 344 Mental Health Nursing during the fall semester of their thirdyear. As part of clinical course requirements, students develop their therapeutic skills as nursecounselors by listening, responding, planning, intervening, and evaluating care of selectedclients–completed in the form of a teaching project. This year, one group of junior nursing students created a cookbook for two healthcare agencies to share with or use for their patients'meals.

Nursing Students Write a Cookbook

Fri Feb 1, 2013

All nursing students take NUR 344 Mental Health Nursing during the fall semester of their third year. As part of clinical course requirements, students develop their therapeutic skills as nurse counselors by listening, responding, planning, intervening, and evaluating care of selected clients–completed in the form of a teaching project. This year, one group of junior nursing students created a cookbook for two healthcare agencies to share with or use for their patients' meals.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently established Executive Order 509 (EO509), which places strict nutritional guidelines on the foods and drinks bought or served by state agencies. The Executive Order is a part of Mass in Motion, a statewide effort to reduce and prevent obesity. The standards encourage use of healthy food options such as:

  • Increasing whole grains
  • Increasing fruits and vegetables
  • Using lean meats and alternative protein sources
  • Using skim or non-fat dairy products

Clinical instructor Ruth Bushey, R.N., B.S.N., '11 said her students knew they wanted to help Star Light Center in Florence and at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton adapt to the new guidelines, so they researched, prepared, and presented a teaching segment on EO509 to the staff and clients at each facility. They also created a 20-recipe cookbook with recipes that meet EO509 guidelines, and gave copies to staff and clients of Star Light Center. Each recipe has options for either four or 40 people, so they can be used both at home or at the facility. At Cooley Dickinson Hospital, where the hospital staff cooks for the patients, the cookbooks were used as an educational tool in group sessions for patients in the behavioral health unit.

"Every clinical rotation is exciting for me, but I am extremely proud of this particular group of students," Ruth said.

Tortellini Tomato Spinach Soup

Ingredients for four

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4-6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14 oz) can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (9 oz) package frozen tortellini
  • Salt, pepper, parmesan cheese to taste

Ingredients for 40

  • 10 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cups minced onion
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 40-60 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (140 oz) can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (90 oz) package frozen tortellini
  • 100 oz frozen spinach, thawed and chopped
  • Salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese to taste

In large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add broth and tomatoes, turn heat up to high, and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package directions. When tortellini is almost done, add spinach. When tortellini is done cooking, serve and top with salt, parmesan, and pepper.