In the third semester of the Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Clinical Nurse Leader, students take the Integrated Healthcare: Population Health course. In this class, students are grouped and work with a local organization on their semester project.
Organizations vary, but all groups work with a specific group of people, including children, the homeless, people with disabilities, or people in a recreation center.
This semester, a group worked with Hope House, a facility that supports women with drug use and mental health issues. Hope House is a women-only facility and provides women and their young children with a safe place to live while they receive treatment. In addition to providing residents with housing, Hope House also provides residents with individual and group drug use counseling, parent support and education, employment and educational assistance, family support and education, certified peer-to-peer support, recidivism prevention education, and intensive case management . They also offer many of these services as outpatient treatment.
On July 9, the Hope House group — comprised of Miranda Matthews, Cindy Thao, Alexandra Metz, Anna Tovo, Elizabeth Nemec, Katie Wheat, Libby Newsome, Natalie Mills, Savannah Meaux, and Vernisha Phillips, along with assistant professor Rebecca Rule — offered a at a health fair for the residents of the facility. The group met with a council of Hope House residents prior to the event to hear what the residents would like to see presented. These topics included child development, healthy relationships, the effects of drugs on the body and women’s health.
In a separate area, the students set up a fun zone for the children of the residents of the health fair. They had age-appropriate activities for the kids including painting and a slime station that allowed the women to focus on themselves and the health fair.
Residents visited each stall and then took a Kahoot! Quiz to test your knowledge of the fair. They received brochures created by the students, as well as personal care items, snacks and a diary.
For the final activity of the Mass, affirmations were distributed to each resident and student. Each person took turns reading their chosen affirmation aloud and discussing what it meant to them. The affirmations were as simple as “I believe in myself”.
This activity initiated connections not only between the students and residents, but also between the residents and students themselves.
“I was grateful for residents sharing personal stories during our discussion,” Matthews said. “I was amazed at their willingness to share and learn. I thought they would hesitate to listen to us, but we found common ground. It’s a reminder that despite our unique personal challenges, our life experiences are similar.”
Going forward, the group recommends building a network of organizations relevant to Hope House’s mission and working with them at future health fairs to ensure Hope House’s resource brochure is kept up to date for residents and staff. They hope to continue to have a working relationship with Hope House staff and residents to ensure issues continue to evolve with the community.
“Both residents and staff expressed their gratitude and asked us to come back for future events. The health fair in particular has given the community a tremendous morale boost,” Matthews said.
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with Hope House,” she said. “The health fair was well received and the insight of the students was enormous.”