Central to the role of nurses as a health care provider is patient education. RU nursing students from Emeritus Nursing Professor Maggie Bassett's Community Health class stepped into their role as educators at the third annual New River Valley Health and Wellness Fair on Feb. 27 at the Christiansburg Recreation Center.
The nursing students were joined by second-year doctorate of physical therapy (DPT) candidates and students from the Nutrition and Dietetics program to practice skills, present current health information and do research at the event which attracted more than 30 community health organizations from the New River Valley. During the four-hour fair, various screenings and assessments were performed by the students and professional counterparts and information about dental, hearing and vision health, nutrition, drugs and emergency preparedness was shared with more than 100 visitors over the age of 50.
"We are happy to step up like this," said Brooke Barnette, a level-four nursing student from Radford, who was part of the eight-person team who organized the event. "As a nurse, our job doesn't stop when we leave the hospital. It is easier to help stop the heart attacks, strokes and diabetes than treat them."
Allyson Scruggs, another member of the event organizing team and level-four nursing student, talked about the importance of the role of educator in the nurse's job description. "Studies have found that prevention will always be the most effective treatment, especially with chronic diseases. We are offering easy, everyday activities that promote health and increase wellness."
"Our goal is to help people eat healthy, live longer, enjoy a better life and have fewer doctor visits," said Sarah Gilbert, a dietetics major from Purcellville, Va., who was one of a dozen members of the RU Dietetics Association who chatted up visitors about good eating habits. "A balanced diet with everything in moderation is what we recommend . . . a little bit of everything and a piece of fruit with every meal."