Wellness With Children in the Inner-City
De Natale, Mary Lou
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Session presented on Saturday, July 23, 2016 and Sunday, July 24, 2016: Purpose: Working in the inner city community with vulnerable children is often overwhelming to health care providers. Taking the first step in networking and beginning with an assessment of their potential health care needs related to: physical, emotional, and psychosocial wellness is a positive direction in changing practice and giving opportunities to the vulnerable. It might not be that we change an entire community---but it is one child, one school, and one community to build health promotion. Building trust and supporting their health and wellness is just a small step in support for the community. As nurse educators and health care providers work together in the community it can be the difference for health and wellness of not only the child, adolescent, but also the primary parent limited resources. Methods: A health fair and subsequent health education in the classrooms provided positive interaction and health promotion with the children related to height/weight, blood pressure, vision screening, and asking each child about a health care concern or issue bothering them was most positive in building the health of the community and this specific inner city population. Nursing students supporting this clinical outreach were better able to understand the community, their access to health care, and building community with the family. Health education handouts also provided to each child and activities to build on their developmental strengths and health. Results: Generalized health care needs related to nutrition, resource linkages for vision follow-up, access to services, and emotional health counseling were noted. Specific health topics were noted of concern were the referrals for vision follow-up and access to medical wellness appointments. Supporting the students in the school helped the family in regards to family issues and knowledge that they are not alone--but supported by school and health care providers, nursing educators, and nursing students. Conclusion: Initially, this evidenced based project supported a collaborative approach for case finding within this school community when participating in the health fair and follow-up to identify and make referrals. Furthermore, educational outreach has provided for the past five years a clinical practicum for nursing students doing health teaching, case management/referrals, and providing educational materials in which the students participated as well--through 'Ask a Nurse' computer assisted health education. Students have ranked this clinical experience as positive with continued interest in working in the school, volunteerism in this community and their own, and building on self-care.