Nursing students from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing are providing public health nursing interventions in St. Croix from May 15 to May 27, 2014.
The group consists of nine students, 8 BS and 1 graduate student, and one clinical instructor. We began the clinical planning 5 months ago in January and now that we are here, everyone is very excited and ready to hit the ground and deliver the many interventions we have planned.
The name of the group is TEAM SMILE:
[Students serving in St. Croix, Make Interventions a Learning Experience].
Everyone was smiling when they landed in St. Croix yesterday afternoon, happy to have all students and all luggage, with 10 suitcases of supplies, equipment, and donations, all intact.
We will be traversing around the island throughout the week in order to reach the population with significant health disparities. This marks the 11th year that we have been sending nursing students to St. Croix, and likely the 20th clinical group. JHU Public Health Nursing faculty have been working in collaboration with several community agencies, including Lutheran Social Services, schools, health departments, Sea View Home Care, and others in order to address the health needs and promote public health in St. Croix.
Prior to the trip students traveled to Washington, DC to meet with the UVI Congressional Representative Donna Christensen, MD, who is an important key informant about the health disparities and health challenges in St. Croix.
Here are a few highlights of our planned interventions:
- Health Fair with BP and diabetes screening at the La Reine Farmer’s Market on Saturday, May 17, from 5:00 – 10:00 a.m. Following the health fair students will do follow up.
- Working at a Senior Citizen Housing complex called Flamboyant Gardens where we will be offering BP and diabetes screening. We will also be working with their volunteer nurse and donating automatic BP cuffs to assist with the ongoing monitoring for the residents. Students will also make home visits to the higher risk residents who need assistance with managing their chronic diseases.
- We will be providing a health education session of nutrition to parents at Early Head Start
- We will be training Americorps volunteers who work for Lutheran Social Services. We were asked to offer a training on Sickle Cell Anemia after one of their peers recently passed away from this disease.
- We are also providing several health education lessons at a few local schools focused on the topics of puberty, anti-bullying, and dental hygiene.
- On 2 full days students will be conducting a scoliosis screening event in a local school in collaboration with the school nurse.
- Throughout the week they will be focused on disease prevention and health promotion and will also visit other community service programs many which are run by our partner organization, Lutheran Social Services.
- Students will also tour the local hospital, ED, and cardiac center. They will visit local health centers and work with a home care agency. And many more health and community assessment activities will ensue.
A number of cultural learning experiences are planned including dinner at Villa Morales, a hike in the jungle with Ras Lumumba who is a resident tropical medicine practitioner, sea kayaking at night to experience the rare bioluminescence, a snorkeling experience at the underwater National Park near Buck Island, attending and visiting local community activities, such as the local church. Today, we are looking forward to attending the pinning ceremony for nursing students graduating from the UVI ASN Nursing Program.
It’s Day 1 and students are thrilled to be in St. Croix and wide eyed and ready to roll. On the way to their condo we stopped for the first island treat – smoothies at Ms. Sylvia’s food truck. She makes delicious mango and pineapple and coconut, and many other fruit smoothies.
This service learning and cultural immersion experience is valuable and life changing for students and I look forward to seeing it all unfold.
- Dr. Lori Edwards, Clinical Instructor
- Diann Rocha, RN, graduate student
- TEAM SMILE students:
- Hillary Hassink
- Cathleen Hannah
- Jessica Hughes
- Beverly Johnson
- Emily Mallon
- Christa Stutlz
- Jessica Vaughan
- Alexandra Watson
- Faculty Collaborator at UVI: Janzie Allmacher, RN, MS