Wright State nursing students to partner with Premier Health at mobile clinic, perform Election Day outreach

Wright State University nursing students are partnering with the Premier Health mobile health care clinic to provide free flu vaccines, cancer screening education, biometric health screenings, healthy recipe ideas and health care resources in Waynesville on Nov. 7.

A mobile health care clinic will be in the village of Waynesville on Election Day thanks to Wright State University nursing students who perceived a need to introduce a medical presence in the community.

The students are partnering with the Premier Health mobile health care clinic to provide free flu vaccines, cancer screening education, biometric health screenings, healthy recipe ideas and health care resources.

The experience will provide the students with a valuable opportunity to stretch themselves academically, professionally and personally.

Ten senior nursing students in a clinical section taught by Harriet Knowles, adjunct instructor of nursing, are busy preparing for and promoting the visit by the van from Premier Health.

The students will visit two polling sites in Waynesville: village offices at 6050 North Clarksville Road from 8 a.m. to noon and Waynesville Community Church at 1009 Lytle Road from 1:30 to 6 p.m.

The students chose Election Day to capitalize on increased foot traffic and are promoting a simple message: “Exercise your right to vote and take your health into your own hands!”

The nursing students scheduled to serve Waynesville decided to focus on providing access to health care services. Coming from a rural community herself, Knowles thought the students would benefit from a small town, rural setting, and as far as she knew, Waynesville has not been used as a clinical site.

The students have studied the town’s demographics and maps. With an economy based on visitors to its antique and specialty shops and its good school system, “Waynesville’s a darling community,” Knowles said.

The students also performed what they called Windshield and Walking surveys — driving through the residential and merchant districts to observe the village, then on foot speaking with people on the street and in businesses.

“The students used the nursing process to assess, analyze and then identify a need,” Knowles said. “Lack of access to health care.”

They found that for Waynesville, in Warren County, the closest public health department is in the county seat, in Lebanon.

“Which is a pretty good distance away. Little Waynesville kind of gets left behind,” Knowles said.

Nursing students Helen Bukowski and Emily Hedrick suggested the class enlist a health care van.

Bukowski said when she and Hedrick talked with villagers, some said they did not know where to go for health care, and some said they had not been to a doctor in 10 years.

“It’s hard to hear that because as someone who works in health care, I want them to be healthy,” said Bukowski.

Hedrick said she, Bukowski and Knowles talked about what could be done.

“My idea was to have a flu shot clinic because we’re coming into flu season,” Hedrick said. “Then Helen took that idea and ran.”

Bukowski reached out to her future father-in-law, a college liaison for Premier Health, who put her in touch with the appropriate people to secure the mobile health clinic.

“The goal is to help at least one person to get in this mobile clinic, get vitals taken, get tested and get resources to follow up and better their health,” Bukowski said. “I hope this will start getting health care into this village and give people their resources and become an annual thing.”

She added that this outreach project has helped develop her leadership ability. Hedrick echoed that, saying the experience will help her when leadership opportunities arise in the future.

The project has helped two other nursing students, twin sisters Sierra and Savannah Osborn, go beyond their comfort zone.

“My sister and I are pretty shy,” Sierra said.

Interviewing the villagers has helped reduce that shyness, as will talking with mobile unit visitors.

“I’ll be talking about diabetes, adding an education component,” Sierra said. “It’ll be interesting to interact with clients in a community setting — I’m used to being in a hospital.”

“It’ll be nice to learn about the people in the community,” Savannah said. “It will help to talk with people and get out of my comfort zone and be more proactive.”

The nursing students involved in the mobile clinic are Olivia Benner, Kaylin Farmer, Taylor Fife, Gabriela Grimes, Emma Logemann and Alyssa Will.

The 10 students have been meeting regularly leading up to Election Day to plan, make promotional posters, and prepare for what they hope will be a productive health experience for Waynesville.

Their work will not be done when the van leaves. On Dec. 5, they will make a formal presentation about their survey findings to community leaders.

The future goal of this outreach, Knowles said, “is that by providing this opportunity to the residents of Waynesville on Election Day, this idea might continue.”

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