York College welcomes Polish students for a glimpse of the nursing program, the campus and downtown York

By Hayley Leitzinger

DR. KLAUDIA Cwiekala-Lewis is an assistant professor of nursing at York College.

In January 2022, she accompanied a group of four students to her native Poland to visit the State University of Applied Sciences (SUAS) in Włocławek, an institution with which York had signed a formal student exchange agreement in 2021. Dr. Holly Sypniewski, director of faculty development and global initiatives, was part of that group.

The students were able to learn more about the healthcare system in Poland, saw different levels of care (acute to hospital/wellness center), and went to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest German Nazi concentration camps, Cwiekala-Lewis said.

Front row, from left: Sarah Martin and Kylie Knipe. Back row, from left: Katarzyna Koszczka, Magda Tucholska and Daria Slomczewska. (Photo by Hayley Leitzinger)

Last week, she and others in the nursing program served as hosts for the reciprocal part of the arrangement. Several nursing students arrived in the U.S. from Poland on March 25 and stayed in York until March 30, all part of a nine-day trip to the United States that also featured sightseeing tours of New York City and Washington D.C.

In summarizing the highlights of their visit to York, Ciewkala-Lewis said that on March 29 the delegation met York Mayor Michael Helfrich and “later we visited Katallasso Family Health Center, the only clinic in downtown York that provides free health care services to our citizens. We concluded our day with a visit to the Community Engagement Center of YCP. While there, Dean Dominic DelliCarpini spoke to the visitors about how his center creates opportunities for students to connect with stakeholders in the York community.” Through the Community Engagement Center, he noted, students are able to work with York City organizations and learn from them, “but they also provide many different volunteering opportunities for our students.” 

Members of York College and the Polish delegation met with York Mayor Michael Helfrich (back row, third from left) on March 29.

On March 28, The Spartan had an opportunity to talk with three Polish nursing students: Daria Słomczewska, Magda Tucholska, Katarzyna Koszczka, and two YCP nursing students who went to Poland, Kylie Knipe and Sarah Martin.

They were all asked several interview questions and below is a list of the questions and each nurse’s response. 

1, How did you decide to go into nursing?

2, What do you enjoy most about nursing?

3, What do you think is the hardest part of nursing?

4, What is your impression of the York College campus (For Polish nursing students)?

5, What was your impression of the Polish campus (For YCP nurses)?

6, If there was any advice you could give to future nursing students, what would it be?

Magda Tucholska, junior nursing student

  • 1, “I’ve always known I wanted to be a nurse. Ever since middle school. I want to help people.
  • 2, “I love learning new skills. I also like to be able to reassure people that their close one is in good hands.”
  • 3, “Trying not to hurt the patient!”
  • 4, “It’s amazing!” “The people here are also really nice.”
  • 6, “Be patient.”

Katarzyna Koszczka, freshman nursing student

  • 1, “I’ve always loved helping my family when they were sick. I just love helping people!”
  • 2, “I love learning new skills. I also really like giving injections and fixing pressure wounds.” 
  • 3, “There’s a lot to remember.”
  • 4, “I like the lounges, Starbucks, and interacting with the students here.”
  • 6,  “Take your time and believe you can do anything!”

Daria Slomczewska

  • 1, “I have a nurse in the family, so I think that’s what impacted my decision.” 
  • 2, “I like that there is always a lot to learn.”
  • 3, “There’s only a short amount of time to help someone.”
  • 4, “The same as Magda and Katarzyna.”
  • 6, Daria wasn’t sure what advice to give, but agreed with everything her colleagues said.
The trip to downtown York included a visit to Katallasso Family Health Center, the only clinic in downtown York that provides free health care services to the community, Dr. Klaudia Cwiekala-Lewis said.

Sarah Martin

  • 1, “I love helping people and having an impact on a patient’s life.”
  • 2, “I like that nursing is continuous learning.”
  • 3, “There’s a really short amount of time to get to all of your patients and there’s a staffing shortage right now.”
  • 5,  “I was really impressed by their nursing labs and I was surprised that there was no dining hall on their campus.” In addition, she said, “It’s also really cold!”
  • 6, “Stick with it and find ways to destress and relax.”

Kylie Knipe, junior nursing student

  • 1, “I love helping people and wanted an active career.”
  • 2, “I enjoy learning new things and that I’m able to be active and moving in my job.”
  • 3, “I also don’t like that there’s a really short amount of time to help people.”
  • 5,   “I was really impressed with their sim labs. The campus was really spread out, which made it hard to get around.”
  • 6,  “Take aid jobs, even if they don’t seem like the most fun at first. Always keep working hard in school.”

Hayley Leitzinger is a freshman at York College. Her major is currently undeclared.

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Faculty and Administration

Ewa Podlewska (Provost), Robert Ślusarz (Neuro Science Research Faculty), Beata Haor (Dean of Nursing)

Nursing Students

Daria Słomczewska, Magda Tucholska, Katarzyna Koszczka

Saturday, March 25

Arrive in Washington D.C.

Sunday, March 26

Sightseeing York City – Brandon and Klaudia

Monday, March 27

10 to 11:30 a.m. – Meet with Provost, Dean, and Chair of Nursing Department, attending a presentation about YCP

11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. – LUNCH BREAK – Main campus cafeteria

1 to 4 p.m. – Visiting the college’s main campus – Dr. Holly Sypniewski

4 to 5 p.m. – coffee break, discussion – Graham Center for Collaborative Innovation Humanities 145

7 p.m. – gala dinner – Welcome  – Founders’ Room

Tuesday, March 28

8.15 to 8.45 a.m. – Nursing Department tour of the building (Kylie K. and Sarah M.)

9 to 9.30 a.m. – Presentation about nursing in YCP (Dr. Schneider)

10 to 11:50 a..m – IPE (interprofessional) sim (Dr. Carolyn S)

11:50 a.m. to 1 p..m. – Lunch Break – DHL 202

1 to 2 p.m.- Health Assessment – Students (Dr. Charlotte W)

2:15 to – 2.45 – Stop the Bleed (Dr. Carolyn S) DHL202

2:15 p.m. – Polish rector meets with YCP deans (Dr. Holly Sypniewski)

3 p.m. – Presentation about Nursing in Poland  DHL 143 ( all faculty & students are welcome)

4 to 5 p.m. – Coffee Break Discussion

7 p.m. – Students will have dinner with our students

7 p.m. – Faculty dinner at Klaudia’s Lewis & Brandon Parkyn House

Wednesday, March 29

Community Visits:

9:30 to 10:30 a.m. – Bureau of Health (hope to meet with Mayor of York)

11: a.m. to noon – Community Clinic (Katallasso)

12:30 to 1:30 p.m. – Lunch Downtown York

2 to 3:45 p.m. – Visit and presentation at the Center for Community Engagement (Downtown York)

Coffee Break Discussion at Center for Community Engagement

7 p.m. – Thanksgiving Dinner (Dr. Stacy Lutter house)

Thursday, March 30                              

9:to 11 a.m. – Visit UPMC Memorial

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. -Visit Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center YCP

12:30 to 1:30 p.m. – Lunch (Cardiac Rehab)

2 to 3 p.m. – Cardiac Rehab Wellspan

3:20 to 4:20 p.m. – Wellspan Rehab Hospital

Leave for Washington D.C.

Friday and Saturday, March 31 and April 1: Tour Washington D.C.

Sunday, April 2: Return trip to Poland


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