Implementing a Student-Sustained No One Dies Alone (NODA) Program at an Academic Institution
No One Dies Alone (NODA) is an interprofessional, student-operated hospital volunteering organization. The NODA mission is to provide compassionate companionship for patients at Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) hospitals who would otherwise be alone during their final moments of life. In addition to the patient, we provide our service for the nurses, friends, and family members who find comfort in knowing that their patient or loved one is not alone.
When a patient is expected to pass, the family or nurse may request NODA volunteers to sit with the patient. The nurse pages a NODA coordinator, and student volunteers sign up as needed. Debriefing sessions, facilitated by a NODA executive board member, are held in the following days to foster personal and professional reflections on death, particularly as it relates to our future roles as health care professionals. NODA also organizes events open to the TJU community that discuss death and dying.
The program has served >40 patients and is sustained by 90 students across various professional programs. NODA's service is appreciated by patients’ families and nursing staff, who find comfort in knowing that their loved one or patient is not alone, while offering early and meaningful patient care experience for students. NODA is a worthy program to establish in any academic institution with access to motivated student volunteers and a hospital.
Caroline A. Christianson
Thomas Jefferson University
1025 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107