Nursing the Community

Students volunteered at Matthew 25: Ministries to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Students volunteered at Matthew 25: Ministries to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Students have taken their training to the local community in the past few months, providing Hurricane Harvey relief and Heimlich maneuver training.

By: Bill Bangert

Training to be a nurse at the University of Cincinnati means going beyond the traditional classroom and clinical settings. Over the last few months, students in the UC College of Nursing Community as Partner course took their training outside the hospital and classroom while volunteering for hurricane relief and training for the Heimlich maneuver.  

In August, a group of UC nursing students volunteered at Matthew 25: Ministries in Blue Ash to help with relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Harvey. In addition to sorting supplies to clear space in the warehouse for donated items, the students also spent time collecting donations dropped off by the public.

"The experience at Matthew 25: Ministries enables the students to become aware of how medical care and supplies differ between the United States and countries without access to our technology and resources,” says Marie Harrison, MSN, adjunct clinical faculty in community health at the College of Nursing. "As students sort the hospital supplies, they learn about equipment they have never seen and may not again. It is an awesome service opportunity enabling the student to view community and public health from an alternative perspective.”

In October, another group of nursing students volunteered at an educational session at Winton Woods Elementary School in Forest Park. The session was held in conjunction with the Forest Park Fire Department and the organization Heimlich Heroes, which teaches students ages 7 and older the signs of choking, how and when to respond with the Heimlich maneuver and ways to prevent or minimize the risk of choking.

"I like it because you get to work with the community, it’s a different kind of education than being in the hospital,” says student Emily Jackson. "It fits in with everything we’re learning in our community class right now.”

Four separate training sessions were held with as many as 100 students per session. Members of the fire department showed an educational video on choking hazards and then the nursing students helped the elementary students use life-size dolls to practice the Heimlich maneuver.

"I think it’s really great because we’re actually getting out into the community and teaching what we’ve learned in school to students who don’t know anything about it,” says nursing student Amanda Kleinfelder. "So it’s nice to be taking what we learned in the classroom and applying it.”

Rosalind Moore, the community clinical coordinator for the Community as Partner course, says the experience in the community is valuable for both the nursing students and the young people with whom they interact.  

"The nursing students are interacting in the community, teaching this life-saving technique,” says Moore. "We’re not just nurses, we’re leaders and by having them out here, we’re exposing the elementary students to college students, and mentoring them.”