Radford students take to the community for senior health fair
As an exercise in community nursing, Radford students hosted the fifth annual New River Valley Senior Health Fair.
On Feb. 23 at the Christiansburg Recreation Center, Emeritus Professor of Nursing Maggie Bassett's Community Health class gathered 35 local businesses, service providers and fellow students to reach out to the senior community.
“Nursing in the community occurs when the patient is a population or community of people. We focus on preventative efforts and health promotion,” said Miranda Blackburn, a fourth-level nursing student and part of the eight-person New River Valley Health and Wellness Fair organizing team.
During the four-hour fair, the Radford nursing students and professional colleagues performed various screenings and assessments and offered guidance to more than 150 visitors on topics ranging from dental, hearing and vision health, nutrition, drugs and emergency preparedness.
Aspiring professionals from Radford’s nutrition and dietetics program and Associate Professor of Nursing Sarah Gilbert’s Gerontology Class also used the fair as a way to share helpful and current information with patients in the community.
The future nurses and dietitians sharpened their consultation and communication skills.
Junior Samantha Koester was one of 13 nutrition and dietetics students who were on hand to emphasize the importance of regular physical activity, perform some basic functional tests and review general nutritional information and guidelines.
“There is so much information about graceful aging and maintaining function longer,” said Koester. “It is fun to talk with these folks about what we believe in and be backed up with a knowledge base of nutrition.”
The move from the classroom to the field was welcome to Alexis Drury, a third-level nursing student from Culpepper.
“We want to help avoid hospital visits and nursing home stays by preventing illnesses,” Drury said. “Today is a nice contrast to our classroom work that helps us build rapport with people and implement what we are learning.
Drury’s classmate Brook Travers enjoyed the chance to step into the community and share.
“I enjoy being out and getting to know patients on a social level,” Travers said. “There is so much helpful information that supports preventative and wellness actions and here we can help people with a conversation or by answering a question.”