Life Review Project – Experiential Learning in School of Nursing

by Elsa Lam, Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Centre

On June 24th, 2014 , at a ceremony celebrating the completion of life review project for the elders in Helping Hand Po Lam Jockey Club Housing for the Elderly, students of “Nursing Cares of Older Adults” of The University of Hong Kong presented life review story books to the elders – a joint effort by the students and elders to look back at the critical events of elders’ lives and to synthesize the positive and negative experiences into a coherent life story with themes.

Rebecca Poon, Lecturer of this course emphasized the therapeutic nature of this life review approach, which distinguishes itself from biography or oral history. She said life review is not only a direct recording of the critical life events of the elders but also a process to help the elders to reexamine one’s life and face old problems.

The Life review book presentation ceremonyb

The Life review book presentation ceremony

The experiential learning component of this life review project is instrumental in helping students to integrate their learning about elders in the “Nursing care for older adults” course. Guidance in interviewing skills and psychological support to the students are also available at the School as the process could be very emotional for both the students and the elders when working together on a life review storybook.

Helen Tsang, student participating in this project focused on the personal aspect of the learning process. She said the biggest gain of this project is getting to know about Madam Giu(嬌婆婆). On behalf of her team, Helen thanked Madam Giu for her trust and hospitality during the interview. Other students also showed their appreciation about the endurance and perseverance of the elders in their life journey. Madam Giu, like other elders, received the book with tears, possibly a result of a mixture of joy and memories of the difficult times of their past. Some elders wanted to keep the story to themselves for their own memories only while some wanted to share their life storybooks with their children and grandchildren. Our students followed and respected the wishes of the elders in a professional manner.

Madam Gui and students from School of Nursingb

Madam Giu and students from School of Nursing

Carol Cheng, the centre in-charge, was not sure at the beginning whether the students will be the best persons to ‘take care’ of the elders’ precious life stories. However, this concern was no longer justified when she saw the carefully and beautifully made life review books presented in the ceremony. She thanked the students for treating the elders with respect and care and hoped that by getting to know the story of the older generation, the students will understand more about the elders in the society.

The ceremony on June 24th was short and yet touching, with the students and elders sharing briefly before formally presenting the life review books to the elders. A total of 73 students of “Nursing Care of Older Adults” interviewed 23 elders from the Helping Hand Po Lam centre.

(This life review project is a collaboration among School of Nursing, Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Centre and Helping Hand Po Lam Jockey Club Housing for the Elderly.)

News Update


Experiential Learning Fund 2014-2015 (Second Round) – Call for Applications

The Experiential Learning Fund supports Faculties in introducing, expanding or enhancing experiential learning in their undergraduate curriculum. The deadline for the first round of application is 27 October 2014. This round of application is for experiential learning projects to take place in the Second Semester and Summer, 2014-15.

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GHELC Student Workshops – Project Preparation Series

GHELC organizes workshops to equip students with necessary skills and knowledge to take full advantage of experiential learning opportunities in unfamiliar environment.

Let’s equip yourselves at the Project Preparation Series!

Workshop 1: Project Design and Proposal Writing (Completed)
Workshop 2: Project Evaluation
Workshop 3: Building Effective Collaborations with Community Partners


GHELC Seminar Series – “Independent Documentaries: Theory and Practice” -How does the Experiential Learning component work?

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