Nursing, public health courses challenge students to help others in classrooms and communities
Sept. 01, 2010
Emily Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org, (573) 882-3346
COLUMBIA, Mo. – When it comes to making healthy changes, students at the University of Missouri are proving that actions speak louder than words. Nursing and public health instructors challenge students to fuel their passion for promoting good health practices in classrooms and communities. Through various outreach efforts, MU students are cultivating change by providing health-focused services to communities in need.
“Real-world experience allows students to really sink their teeth into public health and see what making healthy changes is all about,” said Lynelle Phillips, field placement coordinator in the Master of Public Health Program. “Internships and project-driven courses are major components to public health. Students are given opportunities to translate their academic training and ideas into real-world actions. The benefits are tremendous for the students, as well as the citizens and professionals they work with.”
Public health interns choose a health program or organization to work with for 360 hours, or approximately nine weeks. Nursing students work in public health organizations and complete 90 hours of community health based on their interest areas.
“Nursing in communities’ is an experiential learning course,” said Glenda Nickell, clinical instructor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. “Students are encouraged to choose projects they are passionate about that help people in their home communities. Public health principles are applied to the projects, so the students learn while doing something that benefits others.”
Some recent examples of students’ outreach services:
- Preventing Cardiac Risk Factors – Lee’s Summit Fire Department. In the past 10 years, two firefighters from the area have died from heart disease. Trina Moffitt-Cole, student nurse, implemented a fitness and nutrition program at one fire station and hopes to expand to all seven stations in the area.
- Bike Helmets: Necessity, Not an Accessory – St. Louis County. Anastasia Averbukh, SN, worked with Safe Kids USA to implement a bike helmet law recently passed in St. Louis County. To encourage kids to wear bike helmets, she attended health fairs to teach proper helmet use and collaborated with police departments to distribute helmets to low-income populations.
- Childhood Obesity Public Service Announcement. Amanda Killday, SN, created a PSA to raise awareness of childhood obesity and serve as a reminder to make healthy lifestyle choices. The announcement ran in Kirksville, Columbia and Jefferson City.
- Medication Assistance/Striving to be Smoke Free – West Plains Christian Clinic. Lynn Crites, SN, assisted people with low incomes in obtaining their medications. Jennifer Rhoads worked to obtain medicine for people trying to quit smoking. She also provided support hotline information.
- Vaccine Event Tracking Project – MO Department of Health and Senior Services. Stephanie Scrivner, MPH intern, implemented a project to track issues associated with the H1N1 vaccine. She produced a weekly report with updates and information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Analysis of Rabies Post Exposure Prophylaxis in Missouri. Petronella Hove, MPH intern, evaluated the current animal bite investigation policy in an effort to streamline the process of obtaining the most pertinent information to prevent/control rabies in Missouri.
“My internship was an amazing learning experience,” said Stephanie Scrivner, MU public health student. “It was immeasurably beneficial to take part in the project-planning process and see the project through to its completion. Coordinating with individuals and organizations allowed me to determine the best method to meet participants’ needs. Moreover, my preceptor was an outstanding mentor and leader.”
Nickell coordinates the mental health and community health nursing courses at the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. Phillips is an instructor in the MPH Program and a clinical instructor for community health in the school of nursing. The MPH curriculum is drawn from a variety of collaborating academic programs and units. Public health coursework reflects MU’s strength in the health professions, social work, nursing, medicine, veterinary medicine and arts and sciences.