SON team joins massive healthcare outreach collaboration
To deliver more than $1 million in healthcare services to an estimated 2,100 underserved Southwest Virginians, 10 School of Nursing (SON) faculty, alumni and students joined 1,200 colleagues and volunteers for the Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic July 22-24 in Wise, Virginia.
Three RN-BSN students (Shannon Lowery, Angie Parks and Rachel Lafay), three BSN students (Jimi Gonce, Ben Smith and Marta Jones), three SON faculty (Kemberly Campbell, Kate Brennan and Sue Ellen Miller) and alumna Meghan McFee were part of the contingent that provided general medical, dental, vision, preventive care and education. On Friday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam visited the clinic’s site at the Wise County Fairgrounds, which was converted into a sprawling healthcare facility.
"It was a valuable experience for the students to see the reality of healthcare when access is limited or unavailable.” said Campbell, who recently returned from a similar medical outreach to El Salvador with the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and two other Radford SON students. “It was encouraging to observe such a positive interaction between patients and students. I am proud of them and our program for cultivating an awareness for community healthcare.“
The event was the latest in a series of ongoing field and clinical opportunities by which the SON prepares nurses and contributes to the healthcare of the community and region.
“Many SON graduates will move right into their communities and work in schools and free clinics and provide primary healthcare that may otherwise be unavailable,” Campbell said.
Supervised by a phalanx of medical professionals from across the region, the Radford team served in a variety of roles. They performed intake assessments, triaged the patients to appropriate divisions, worked as part of the women’s health team and taught education sessions. The team worked with faculty, professionals and students from Virginia schools of medicine, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy and dentistry as well as organizations such as the Virginia Department of Health.
“Everybody contributed and it was great to watch the students be active parts of such a valuable, collaborative effort,” Campbell said.
Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps is a Knoxville, Tennessee-based, nonprofit, volunteer medical relief corps that provides free healthcare and technical and educational assistance to people in remote areas of the United States and around the world. RAM was founded in 1985 and the group's work, originally confined to Third World countries, later shifted toward the U.S.