Nursing program s “”community clinical”” course culminates with a Health Fair

February 27, 2015

A semester-long collaboration between a Calvin College professor, students in her Nursing 478 class, and the Creston Neighborhood Association culminated with a four-hour Health Fair on the northeast side of Grand Rapids that was free and open to all.

Calvin professor Barb Timmermans teaches Nursing 478, the Hope-Calvin nursing program s “”community clinical”” course, in a very hands-on way. All semester long the class spent one day a week working with the Creston Neighborhood Association, doing a variety of health screenings and health promotions.

And on April 29 the class concluded a semester s worth of efforts with a four-hour Health Fair (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), working in conjunction with another Calvin professor (Sandy Rozendal) and her class which has worked during the semester in the Heartside neighborhood.

The Health Fair included free blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol screenings; educational booths related to heart health, nutrition, lead poisoning, sun and water safety, dental health and smoking cessation; ambulance tours; face painting and more.

In addition to the two Calvin classes, students from Calvin s Service Learning Center and volunteers from the neighborhood staffed the Health Fair.

Timmermans says the weekly efforts and the health fair are both ways in which Calvin tries to get its students to think about community health, answering such questions as “”how do you improve the overall health of a population?””

Adds Timmermans: “”Both the weekly clinic and the health fair give our students experience with health promotion and disease prevention. Both are significant goals and objectives for the nursing profession. When nurses see patients in an acute care setting they often have limited opportunities for education. They may have a chance when the patient is discharged to talk to them about exercise and diet, but they don t know the setting to which the person is returning. Getting students into a community and even into people s houses gives them a sense of who their clients are. We believe that these students will be better nurses as a result of community involvements such as this Health Fair, even if they never practice in a community setting.””

This was the third year for the Health Fair, which last year attracted some 120 children and 40 adults.

Service Learning Center web site:

Calvin College - MI, Michigan
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