James Madison University

Nursing Students Host Community Health Fair

By: Sydney Palese
Posted: November 20, 2013

PHOTO: Faculty  at wellness fair

On Monday, Nov. 4, nine senior nursing students hosted the second biannual Informational Health Fair in conjunction with Our Community Place (OCP).

The fair was held at OCP in downtown Harrisonburg, and planned and coordinated by the students, who are currently completing their population-centered care in the community clinical (NSG 453L). The outreach was the culmination of their assessment and research, which allowed the students to share their findings with the community. About 30 people from the area attended.

The students were responsible for setting up booths reflecting the findings from a survey they facilitated earlier in the semester asking people in the community what they perceived as their most pressing health issues. Information presented included dental care, hand hygiene, mental health, health services within the community, diabetes, drugs and alcohol, and nutrition. Brittany Qualkinbush, one of the students who helped set up the fair, said that all information dispensed had to come from academic journals.

PHOTO: Student preparing patient for injection

There were also several services offered including foot measurements and a demonstration on the importance of proper hand washing. Of all the services offered, the students involved were most proud of the 20 flu vaccinations administered. Carlisle Nottingham, a student who set up the STI and Vaccination booth, said this was one of their greatest accomplishments because they were able to deconstruct some of the misconceptions of the flu shot and properly educate people about the benefits of receiving the vaccination.

The students were able to form partnerships in the Harrisonburg and Rockingham community to help broaden the scope of services and resources offered; these partners included the Harrisonburg Community Health Center, Rockingham Memorial Hospital and the Health Department, which provided the flu vaccinations.

PHOTO: Donated food

Several sponsors also donated hygiene products. Sole Source, in coordination with their sock supplier, gave away 60 pairs of wool hiking socks. The Harrisonburg Department of Transportation donated $100 worth of bus passes. Friendly City Food Co-op donated a $20 gift card and provided education. The community service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, provided hand sanitizer, and the Nursing Student Association supplied toothbrushes. Toothpaste was purchased using a $25 gift card donated by the local Walmart. Qualkinbush said that by the end of the fair, the students were surprised to find that all the toothpaste was gone, but hardly anyone took toothbrushes. “People only took what they needed,” she said.

Upon leaving, the attendees of the fair were encouraged to fill out an exit survey in exchange for a raffle ticket. The surveys asked participants to list three things they learned from the fair. Many people’s answers reflected they learned about the flu shot, drugs and alcohol, and hand hygiene.

In the future, Qualkinbush said she hopes other departments from the College of Health and Behavioral Studies will become involved with the fair.