Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gila River, Arizona

This month, Angel and I have been in Public Health Nursing, each week in a different district. It's been really interesting to see the patients in their own chosen setting, see how they live. There are some things that are much easier to understand once you get to see their home. It brings a whole new element to my personal view of holistic healing.
All of public health has the same tasks that they need to complete outside of patient care each month, but not every group does them the same way. For example, the RN of each district team isn't supposed to have a patient load, and rarely did we see a nurse who didn't go to a patient's home. They are also supposed to do a certain number of char reviews each month, and I only saw one group do that. But despite their differences, they all provide the ever-important patient care. Through them, I also learned about the value of teamwork. I saw groups that worked well together, and I saw some that worked less well together. The groups that did work well together seemed to enjoy work more, updated each other regularly, asked for help when they needed it, and reminded each other of their tasks. In the group that didn't work as well together, the stress was almost palpable, and rather uncomfortable to work in. Having seen this, I think that I will strive to get along with my co-workers and create the best possible working environment and ensure the best patient outcome.
During our last week, we also got to follow a nurse to another Native American community, on a different, smaller reservation, just a half hour away. The physical and aesthetic differences between them were surprising to me. However, I reminded myself that not everything is as it appears, and I'm sure that this community too has their own struggles. But it was an interesting comparison.
Overall, I'm very glad that for the time I had in Public Health, because it really gave me a better overall understanding of the reservation as a whole, and a better personal definition of public health.

Coming to a close with Great Lakes

My time with Great Lakes Home Healthcare and Hospice is coming to an end and I have had an amazing experience. I truly feel like I have become a part of the staff and I am very sad to be leaving. Kailey and I were welcomed with open arms and the staff accommodated us very well. As I said in my previous post, we have had the opportunity to work with med/surg, mom/baby, wound, and hospice nurses. This has given us the opportunity to see people throughout the entire spectrum of life. The nurses allowed us to get so much hands-on experience and I have been able to build on to the nursing skills I already have. Since my first blog post, I have gotten to perform some skills that I have not had the chance to do before. I changed a suprapubic catheter, flushed a medi port, and packet multiple wounds/applied wound vacs. Since I have been running the nursing visits, I have also gotten better at performing my assessments and recognizing abnormals.

Throughout our time with these three nurses, we tried to figure out what type of project would benefit our patient population the best. Because the patients are separated into categories (mom/baby, wound, etc) we figured it would be smart to focus on one of those areas. We chose to focus on the mom/baby population due to the lack of information they are currently receiving from the agency. When they are admitted into our agency, the patients receive a general admission packet which contains information related to the agency, infection prevention, etc. but nothing specific to mom/baby. We have also noticed that a lot of the patients are young, first time mothers.

We decided that the best project would be to make a packet that is specific to mom/baby that could be given out with the general admission packet. We started the project by getting input from the nurses on what they felt would be important aspects of the packet. Once we had that, we put together the packets and got approval from the clinical director. We are awaiting final approval from the director before we print and distribute the packets. We feel that these packets will greatly benefit the new mothers and will give them much needed information about taking care of themselves and their new babies.

Overall, this clinical site has been absolutely wonderful and I would recommend it to anyone! The clinical director said that she hopes we will send students again next summer, and I am very glad that we were able to establish this new site. I am sad that it is almost over, but I could not have asked for a better capstone experience!!

Otis Moss's Annual Live Long Live Strong Health Fair

On July 23, Otis Moss Jr. Medical Center held its annual community wide health fair and offered free health screenings to all age populations. This event was created to help residents in the community receive free health screenings, and to help benefit the uninsured. The overall turnout for the event was about 100 people. Although this did not reach our goal of 150, it was still a success. The rain did not stop people from attending the event, and eventually the weather cleared and left us with a sunny afternoon. I would like to thank all of the nursing student volunteers who came to help out. It is greatly appreciated and the event could not have happened without you.
Some of the health screenings offered at the event include blood pressure, bio nutrition, memory, hearing, HIV, vision for the elderly, blood glucose testing, and mammogram screenings. Residents of Fairfax from the adult population really seemed to utilize the mammogram service as well as the blood pressure screenings.
The Kids Fun World was another large component of the health event. This area offered exercise, smoothies, clowns, balloons, a water slide, a sprinkler, the Fire Department Smoke House, and great prizes such as bikes and gift cards for the winners of various contests. One of the more popular contests was the hula hooping contest. The children seemed very excited for these activities and were great participants.
Part of the reason I feel that this event did not reach 150 residents is due to the organization of the event. Medical providers were being added to the provider list at the very last minute, making organizing the tables and tents hard to accomplish. The advertising for the event was also last minute. If the community members were aware of this free health event at an earlier date, I believe that more people would have participated.
A third factor that played a role in the limited clients who attended the event includes the location of Otis Moss Medical Center. Otis Moss is hidden away on Quincy Avenue and East 89th Street. If it weren't for this Capstone experience, I would not have known that this wonderful health care facility existed. The Cleveland Clinic receives the majority of the recognition because it is profit oriented and continues to create new spaces in the Fairfax neighborhood. After interviewing residents in the Fairfax area, it seems like the people from Fairfax are upset with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation for moving into their territory. One resident referred to the Clinic as "the octopus of the city" because it invades the town and spreads wealth without offering any to their neighborhood. University Hospital needs to advertisement their facilities more in order to let Fairfax residents know about the different health care options in the community. If the residents were more aware of this UH facility, I believe it would be utilized more, especially by the elderly population.
Since Live Long Live Strong is now over, Kana and I are focusing on the creation of our poster, the completion of our paper, and the identification of better methods for evaluating our final data. The hard part about our project is tracking down specific statistics regarding HPV, cervical cancer, and genital warts in the Cleveland area. We have called the Ohio Department of Health, the Cleveland Public Health Department, the Merck Vaccination company, and have researched endlessly online. HPV is considered to be a non-communicable disease according to the health departments, making the statistics hard to track. Kana and I disagree because HPV is spread through genital contact and often people pass it on without knowing as well as after being treated. It will be hard to illustrate that HPV is a concern in Fairfax without these statistics, and without taking up too much of our poster space. We will keep you updated on current information we find and other interesting facts about our capstone experience within the next few weeks.

Monday, July 25, 2011

SHARP and the Summer Shot Clinic

The capstone project that I have been working on this summer at the Shaker Heights Health Department focuses on improving immunization rates in Shaker Heights. We are holding a Summer Shot Clinic in August and are hoping for a great turnout. During the shot clinic, all childhood vaccines will be available. We are also planning on providing information about lead poisoning prevention. My main goal is to reach as many people as possible.

One way that I have been working on this is by collaborating with other organizations in the city to help spread the word about the clinic in the community. A specific group that I have been working with is SHARP (Student Health Advocates Reaching Peers). This is a wonderful group of high school students involved in promoting health through community awareness. The students go through a 3 week training program, during which the health department came to talk to them about our project. I put together a powerpoint presentation about the importance of immunizations as well as the dangers of lead poisoning and ways to prevent it. The SHARP students were very engaged during the presentation and asked many questions. They seemed to be very interested in the project and willing to help us reach the community. I conducted a pre and post test, and the students’ results greatly improved in 4 out of the 5 questions. We came back another day a few weeks later to teach the students how they can help spread the word about the Summer Shot Clinic. I gave examples of different people they may encounter, such as angry people, rude people, and people who are too talkative. We had fun acting out examples with the students and they were all enthusiastic and eager to participate.

After practicing with the students, we put them to the test! We decided to go to Thornton Park, a nearby pool where we thought we would be able to reach a lot of people. We set up a table right at the pool entrance and put out lots of silly bands and tattoos to attract the children. These were a big hit! We had so many kids come up to our table asking if they could have a silly band. Ten SHARP students showed up, which we were very happy with. All of them did an extremely good job of approaching people and passing out flyers. I was impressed with how many people the students were able to talk to! I think preparing them and practicing different scenarios was helpful. I was very grateful that the students of SHARP were so willing to assist us spread the word about the event coming up. We were able to reach many people and hopefully this will increase our turnout at the shot clinic.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Live Long Live Strong at Otis Moss

Today Otis Moss Jr. Medical Center had a health fair event called the “Live Long Live Strong ". My capstone group and few other nursing students from other groups volunteered at the event. This event offered free health screenings for blood pressure, lead toxicity, vision, hearing, HIV, podiatry, nutrition, memory, mammogram, and others. Outside in the parking lot there were vans from Mammovan, Ronald McDonald, Health Department, and Cleveland Fire Department. My capstone group prepared for this event throughout the summer and I felt nervous in the beginning to organize the event. Once the event began it went by very quickly. I had a great experience working with the staffs from other organizations. This event was a great public health experience. It felt rewarding to help the Fairfax community by providing free health screenings and education.

This event not only offered free health screenings but also entertainment for the community. There was an area outside called the Kids Fun Land where children can go and play. We had sprinklers, balloons, face tattoos, slide, and a smoothie stand for the children in the community. Characters such as Ronald McDonald, Scooby Doo, and Spider Man also came to the event to play with children. We also had free raffles at the event for adult and children bike, membership at the gym, and gift cards. Some of the community members and volunteers had a hula hoop competition at the event. Participating in these fun events seemed to bring the community together. People who came to the event seemed to have a great time. I hope Otis Moss will continue to host this health screening event in the future. This was the ninth year for the Live Long Live Strong event. Overall, the event was a great success and I would love to see the event again next year.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


As I am finishing up half of my senior year there are a few different things that I can reflect upon. After teaching volleyball and teach nutrition there were a handful of campers that were sad I wasn't coming back next year and this made me happy. There was even a couple of boys and girls who gave me hugs and had me sign their shirts! As a teacher some of the kids did not show as much respect as when I was a volleyball coach so this was discouraging. We had a lot of specials so some of our class times were disrupted and some of the groups were only able to see us and learn about nutrition two or three times.

During this last week and wrapping up the program our group has been working on our final paper and it has been a good way to show our teamwork to each other. We are excited for the camp to be over for the fact we can now concentrate on this paper and the poster that will display all of our work. We are working on analyzing our pre-test and post test to see the differences in scores and hopefully the percentages of right answers, will increase to show we were able to get some information through to at least a couple of campers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Final NYSP

Half way through the camp and I changed my role from an educator to a coach.  In the children's perspective this was a good thing because many of them got to see the down to earth, real side of my personality and not the strict teacher they began to signify me as.  At this point I had the opportunity to interact with the children, still educational but on a different aspect.  I actually had the chance to participate in football with the different groups and experience how exhausting it was to be playing the sports in the hot sun. 

Overall I had a great experience with the program and I have definitely seen the changes that occurred with many of the children.  Watching the kids learn and develop new skills while having fun and enjoying the camp as well.  As a coach it was a challenge to motivate some of the kids cause football is a rough and challenging sport especially in the weather we were faced with.  Though, it was a great achievement to encourage the children and watch as they became more engaged with the sport with positive reinforcement and recognition of accomplishments they have made. 

It was only a five week camp but it has exhausted me mentally, emotionally, and physically.  I have learned so much about myself personally throughout my participation in the camp as well as the community in Cleveland and surrounding areas.  The camp involves children from various regions of the city which gives you a better understanding about the entire surrounding community as a whole.  It was a shock just to notice the differences in the individuals even though they lived so close together.  The experience was also a big cultural shock too, being immersed into a program of 400 children mostly African American.  Though, I learned so much just being exposed to the cultural on a first hand basis.  It was definitely a benefit to our experience in our public health rotation as a nursing student.

NYSP Education

For the last two weeks of my Capstone experience, I have been working with three other nursing students teaching the kids about nutrition. We focused on lessons that talked about the food groups, food group servings per day, calorie intake per day, water consumption, healthy versus unhealthy snack choices, reading food labels, sugar and sodium consumption, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cholesterol. We had a few other things that we wanted to cover; however, we ended up having to tweak our lesson plans from day to day. This was due to some of the behavior in the classroom. Unfortunately when teaching kids, some behavior issues are bound to follow. It was important to deal with these issues in an effective and efficient manner to ensure that our topics were going to be covered. It was a little difficult at first to find ways in which to do this, but by the second week I thing we found effective solutions. This taught me a lot about how to manage a classroom and to work as a cohesive group in order to attain our goals.

Most of the kids were very receptive to our teachings. They stayed interested and participated in discussions. A lot of the kids were very knowledgeable on these topics and were happy when they could answer questions correctly. We made sure to have some fun games and activities for them to do such as creating their own daily menu using the correct number of servings of each food group and making their own trail mix. Having games and activities for them to participate in kept them entertained, focused, and interested in the topics we were teaching about.

Overall, my NYSP experience was great. I was able to learn a lot about these kids and also a lot about myself. There were some bumps along the road but we were able to work through them and really experience the greatness of the NYSP program.

NYSP 2011

As I sit here reflecting upon my Senior Capstone experience with the NYSP Camp, I cannot believe how much I have grown as a person through this camp. At first I felt out of my comfort zone but then I soon realized that getting to know the campers turned out to be the greatest experience that could have happened. Knowing the campers allowed me to adjust myself into this new atmosphere of the NYSP Camp.

After the first part of the camp I was able to participate in softball and at the halfway point I had the opportunity to teach the campers about nutrition. This at first was a challenge getting the campers to sit in a classroom and educate them on health related issues. I soon realized that I needed to get creative to get the campers engaged in our health lesson. My fellow nursing students and I educated the campers of what nutritional snacks include. Once the campers understood what a healthy snack was my fellow nursing students and I brought in food for the campers to make trail mix! The campers loved it! We gave them each a plastic bag and they went around the room and made their individual trail mix consisting of various nuts, raisins, and chocolate chips. This was great because it got the campers engaged into our discussion and actively participating in hands on activities. We also played fun nutritional games with the kids. We portioned out various foods and showed them how much sugar and salt was in each item. I found that the kids responded best to visual demonstrations. Showing the kids how much sugar was in a candy bar versus yogurt put a really good picture of how unhealthy certain foods are. I had the opportunity to have Australian students in my classroom. I found it interesting that they did not know what "pop" was. I had to show them was it was when I was discussing it in class. I feel they brought a great contribution to the class. They were able to share their daily nutritional diet to the rest of the class. By doing this the other students were very engaged on how differently their diets were. The campers where asking each other questions about their diet and I was very proud that the campers could facilitate a conversation within their group. In the end, I enjoyed teaching the campers about nutrition. I feel that I have made an impact on what they know about nutrition and feel that they will make better nutritional choices in their everyday life.


KIDS! KIDS! KIDS!...i do not remember the last time i had to deal with so many kids...watching the seniors (13-16y/o) just reminds me of the reason why i did not like high school. all they were preocupied about is their looks and the oppposite sex. believe me guys, they are more important things in life...but who am i kidding?...i remember when i was their age...people use to tell me the same thing, could care


I was not able to access the blog until today so this post will be a reflection from June 29th.

For the past two weeks, I have had the pleasure of teaching the swimming portion of NYSP. I worked with a few other staff members to teach the beginners group. I was amazed that so many kids did not know how to swim and that many of them were afraid of the water. I grew up always having access to a pool, whether it was a neighborhood pool or our own personal pool in the backyard. The thought that not everyone has the same opportunities or resources that I had never really crossed my mind. Teaching kids to swim started out as a challenge because of these differences in our backgrounds. It took a lot of time in the beginning to even get the kids in the pool. But as the two weeks went on, I was so proud of the growth that was taking place in the kids. Those who were once afraid of the water or who said they "couldn't do it" were now able to go under water without plugging their nose, they were able to kick and use their arms properly, and they were gliding in the water. They were swimming! It was an absolute joy to see them proud of themselves and proud in each other! It really showed me that what we were doing was making a difference in these kid's lives. It wasn't the fact that they could swim that made a difference, it was us encouraging them and in return, them pushing themselves to achieve something that they didn't think they could accomplish. They were starting to have confidence in themselves! It was extremely awarding to see the changes being made in these kids. I can only hope that when we switch to the education portion, that we see the same progress.

NYSP 2011

This is postdated from June 29:

I am currently participating in the National Youth Sports Camp Program. Before the start of camp, the other nursing students and I came early to get acquainted with the program as well as plan for our lesson plans that we would be teaching to the children involved in the NYSP camp. Once the camp started it was nothing i ever experienced. I was very nervous at the beginning of camp and did not know what to expect. I went in with an open mind and took every day to the fullest. I soon found myself to be very overwhelmed with how hectic the camp day went. There were hundreds upon hundreds of children inside the gymnasium anxiously waiting to begin their first day of the NYSP camp. As the day went on I became more comfortable interacting with staff members and the campers. I feel extremely fortunate to have already known my clinical capstone site of Case Western Reserve's campus. Other staff members and campers asked me where buildings were and I felt useful because I could direct them where to go. I soon felt even more comfortable interacting with the staff members and campers from walking back and forth from campus.

The first part of camp I had the opportunity to facilitate sports with the campers. I was in charge of softball. I have played softball since I was little so I felt that I could teach the campers many useful skills that would benefit them in playing the sport of softball. One difficulty with playing sports is that many of the campers wanted to do whatever they wanted; therefore it was difficult to grab every child's attention to listen and watch various softball drills. Soon once the campers got confident with practicing and performing different softball drill, we were able to play a game with them. This is when I truly saw the campers come out of their shell. They were running around and playing together as a team in their game of softball. They were once individual campers but once they started playing the game with each other they worked together and I must say I was very proud of the cohesiveness that they displayed on the softball field. Throughout this NYSP camp, I always want to bring out the best in these children and show them that anything is possible. I interacted with specific female camper who did not even know what the sport of softball was. She was very hesitant to try the sport. By the end of the first week she came out of her shell and absolutely fell in love with the sport. She was shy and timid at first to try to throw and catch the ball. I knew this camper had great potential to succeed in an activity that she was not confident in. I was very patient with her, working everyday one on one with her, encouraging her to keep trying even if she did not master the skills the first time she tried it. By the end of the week she was a star softball player. I could not wait to see her the following day. She told me she went home and played catch with her brother and stated how impressed her brother was with her at how well she threw the ball. That touched my heart wen she told me that story. It made me feel as though I made a difference in her life. She was confidence in a sport that she did not even know what it was. From that day on, every time I saw her she had a bright smile on her face because she challenger herself to something that she did not feel as though she could do. Something as small as taking the time to explain to her how to throw a softball gave her confidence to get on the field and play with her fellow campers. So far my experience has been absolutely wonderful with the NYSP Camp.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

NYSP 2011

This post should have been displayed on June 26th.
It is now more than two weeks since the start of the National Youth Sports Program and I have just finished my role as an educator for the camp.  From the beginning, as nursing students we were spit into three groups each with our own education topics including nutrition, self-esteem, and my groups topic being physical activity.  We started each day of camp bright and early and every morning we would take attendance of a specific group of children we were assigned to.  I happened to be the leader of group 12 which included about 25 children, ages 10-12.  Keeping in mind there was a total of about 400 kids, ages ranging from 10-16. Most of the kids met in Adelbert gym, so you can imagine the chaos some days in the crowded and hot gym but we quickly led the children to either their first sports activity or enrichment class.

Enrichment for me included teaching about physical activity and its importance with two other nursing students.  We designed 5 lesson plans that each lasted about 50 minutes which included: BMI, cardiac health, muscles, sports injuries, and sedentary lifestyles.  The hardest part about creating these lesson plans was the variation in ages with the children and tailoring each one to multiple levels of education.  Throughout each day for 2.5 weeks we taught 4 classes and made the lessons as interactive and hands on as possible.  We let the kids play games and do activities such as Simon says to teach the muscle groups, ride that pony (sounds odd, but the kids loved it) to teach about the heart rate, jeopardy, calculating and plotting their own BMIs, and charades just to name a few.

As of today I am enjoying the camp and I can see the positive attitudes and eagerness to learn with most of the children.  Through education I think that we are having an impact on the children and it is evident by the reactions and just interacting with the kids everyday.  We taught about BMI on the first day of camp and I am still having kids reference and talk about the information we taught.  Leaves me with a sense of accomplishment especially with the hard work that I have put into the program.  Also, being with the kids for 7 hours each day all week, you can tell that many of them look up to me, they put trust in me, and even consider me a role model.  I will be continuing the rest of the program coaching and playing football and I hope that my experience will be just as satisfying as the education portion.  

Otis Moss Junior Medical Center

For the Summer Capstone assignment, I am working at the Otis Moss Jr. Medical Center. This health care facility is nothing like I pictured prior to starting the capstone project on June 6th. Otis Moss is a small health care facility with about ten exam rooms, nestled quietly on Quincy Avenue. Otis Moss offers care to OB/GYN, adult, and pediatric patients and often unites the Baptist religious denomination to their care. If I did not have this capstone assignment, I wouldn't know that this place existed. In order to attract more patients and to provide free health screenings to the Fairfax community, a large portion of the semester has been spent on organizing the annual "Live Long Live Strong" campaign.
The "Live Long Live Strong" campaign takes place annually in July and offers hearing, blood pressure, dental, sickle cell, cholesterol, mammogram, and other screening services of this nature to people of all ages. My partner Kana and I have completed the following tasks to help make this event a success: Contacting heath care providers to attend the fair to provide screenings, Calling, emailing, and contacting area businesses for donations to be raffled off as prizes, Organizing the tables, booths, and chairs and creating the maps for set-up purposes, Registering people for the screenings of their choice, Contacting volunteers and organizing the volunteer assignments, and other necessary tasks needed to make this event possible. Although this experience has been enjoyable, it has been a little hard focusing on our main goal of the semester.
After speaking with pharmaceutical representatives from the MERCK Company, Kana and I discovered that Human Papillomavirus (HPV) has high prevalence in the Fairfax neighborhood of Cleveland and is growing throughout Cuyahoga County. Our goal for the semester is to increase vaccination rates for Gardasil in our randomly sampled population size of 100 current Otis Moss patients aged 11-20. The criteria for selecting our patients to be sampled from included that the patient would have to be aged 11-20 male or female, received testing for the sexually transmitted diseases gonorrhea and chlamydia, and would have to be a current patient at Otis Moss. The patients that had a positive result for a previous STD test were considered high risk, while the patients that tested negative were considered low risk. Kana and I then manually screened the patients charts to see if they have received Gardasil, and if so, what stage of the cycle were they in. For those patients who never received Gardasil or who did not complete the cycle, a letter was sent home to the parents encouraging them to get the child vaccinated. Our goal is that the parents respond in a positive way and that our baseline number of vaccinations increases by 5%.
As the semester is coming to a close, this experience has been fun and rewarding. It has opened my eyes to a whole new kind of nursing, community nursing, and has strengthened my organization and people skills. I am looking forward to finishing our data collection for the project to determine if we have achieved our main goal of the semester.


This is is a delayed post from June 25th.
For the past two weeks, ten of us nursing students have been tackling (literally and metaphorically) the approximately 400 kids who attend the National Youth Sports Program here at Case. Every morning we tackle the not so easy task of taking attendance in the very loud and hot Adelbert Gym before tackling the next obstacle of transporting the kids to their various activities. Some nursing students started out in their sport, where they play football, softball, volleyball or swimming with the kids as they rotate through each sport. My group, however, started out in the classroom. We are teaching groups of kids ranging from 15-almost 40 students of ages 10-16 about the importance and impact of physical activity. We have lesson plans tailored to each individual class, because each group of kids has its own personality. Some kids are so eager to learn that we can barely contain their enthusiasm in our tiny windowless classroom, while others are completely content to just toss their hoodie over their head and take a nap (which we do not tolerate by the way). By now, we have discovered effective methods of teaching and maintaining order in the classroom. Some things we've done have been Simon Says with the younger kids to help them learn the different muscle groups and Ride That Pony with everyone to show them how exercise increases your heart rate. In order to emphasize the importance of stretching, we did yoga, and to help them understand BMI, we plotted their BMIs on charts and learned some fun chants, too.
So far I am really enjoying my time here at camp, even though by the time I get home I don't have the energy to do anything except shower and sleep. But I can really tell that these kids look up to us as role models and someone they can open up to, so the complete exhaustion isn't all in vain. I'm looking forward to this coming week when we will be switching out of teaching and rotating through our sport. Since I lack athletic ability to put it nicely, Im going to be helping teach dance aerobics-which is right up my alley. I've been asking the kids about dance class and they love it. The instructor is really good- i see him frequently in Adelbert showing off his skills and teaching kids how to breakdance before starting their day. Maybe by the end of this I'll master the headspin thing he's always doing. Probably not though. What I DO know, though, is if a kid gets injured doing the Dougie, Cat Daddy, Thriller, the Wobble, or the Cupid Shuffle, I'll be the first on the scene.

NYSP 2011

National Youth Sports Program is a large summer camp that runs 5 weeks long in Cleveland, Ohio. It is comprised of both sports and educational classes. 400 children, ages 10-16, attend annually. This year we had Lorain and Australian guests. Over the past 5 weeks I have had quite the adventure. I coached football and taught nutrition in the enrichment classes. I have learned so much during this camp.

The campers showed me the ropes. They taught me that respect comes from everyone in everyplace. We basically preach to these young individuals that we deserve respect when trying to coach, teach, or instruct them. They turned it around and stated that many people are not respecting them because they are considered the younger and less experienced. I remember one camper who was asked not to be eating in front of the whole class out of respect for the others. His response was, "Miss Sam, we get up, eat breakfast around 6:30 AM, go to camp, and then don not get feed again until 1 PM. I can not go 6 1/2 hours without eating. Come on now, could you do that?" It was at this point that I realized that these young campers really do put in a full effort in this camp. They make sacrifices just like we do to be here.

This camp comes with both challenges and rewards. I am proud to say that the rewards completely outnumber the challenges. The campers bonded with me and trusted in me to talk about personal feelings. I liked being able to learn about their home life or what they desired in life. Being with the children everyday for 5 weeks gave me first hand experience into what a Public Health Nurse may deal with on a day-to-day basis. I was able to learn to understand not only what the community is thinking about but why they think that particular way. An example shared to me was about the issue of school bullying. One young female stated that she was often a victim of school bullying because she was overweight and wore the same outfits routinely. She expressed that she did not like it but she didn't know how to change anything. In a group discussion about this topic many individuals agreed this was wrong. We talked about hows there are things in life that we can not help. We talked about not judging people for aspects like that. Overall, we had a good group conversation. My only hope is that I made in impact in the campers life as they did mine.

Monday, July 18, 2011


This blog was written during our third week of the program, I am just now able to log onto upload it to the blog.
This week I switched from helping teach volleyball to teaching Nutrition with my group. Teaching volleyball was interesting experience. A lot of the campers were not very interested in playing volleyball so that meant I had to be creative to have everyone participate. One of the ways we were able to have everyone participate is by doing drills and games instead of just volleyball games. One of the games we played required teamwork and communication skills. They would toss the volleyball over to the other team and it must be caught - if it was not then whoever was closest would have to sit out. Which ever team ran out of players first lost, the kids really enjoyed the friendly competition.

I was able to work with 2 other awesome staff members and we had a lot of fun together. I was not the greatest volleyball player but the 3 of us worked well as a team, we even played dodge ball against the campers on the last day of camp. Discipline was all of our jobs because a lot of the campers just ran around and would try to play basketball or just sit and talk with their friends. The biggest challenge this far has been keeping all of the campers attentive to the task for the day, but overall it has been a positive experience!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Gila River, Arizona

The first part of this is a delayed post from early June.

One Saturday we got to go to a local Health Fair hosted in a Community Center in District 1. I was excited because I've been spending a lot of time in the school, and was eager to meet more of the community. We met up with a Public Health Nurse for that district and rode over with her, where we then got to help set up a small booth about sun protection and healthcare services. There were several fliers and papers, and also a station for checking blood pressure and blood sugar. Slowly the rows of tables partially filled with other booths, and the rest of the gym filled with community members. They slowly trickled down the row of booths, stopping at each one at least long enough to pick up information. They got a lot of good information, as well as activity books, a water pouch, and lots of pens. We wandered through the row once it had thinned out a little bit and go to see for ourselves what the other booths were. They had one for the Adult Caring House, and the Telecommunications on the reservation, and one for a local program called GENESIS, which is a diabetes prevention program.
Once everyone was settled, there was a short speech by an Elder, who upon finishing, asked all the young people to come forward and serve the Elders the dinner that the Fair was providing. With the guide from our nurse, we then collected meal tickets and orders, and then delivered the box dinner to the appropriate person. I thought that practice was so respectful! Allowing the elders to remain seated, resting and relaxing, while acknowledging their importance to the community.
During dinner there was a presentation, and then I got to hear for the first time, some one talking about the "white man." Jaimie and I were probably one of maybe five white people in the room. I hadn't really noticed that until the speaker made this comment. It was very interesting to hear their perspective on everything. History books are totally skewed, and I know that I don't always remember that.
After dinner they broke up into break out sessions, and I was able to attend a session about local plants and their medicinal properties. That was really interesting because you got to hear how information got passed down from person to person, and the different traditions between family, even though they are all part of the same tribe. After that there was a community dance, so we packed up our booth and left.
More recently, we got to go to another Health Fair in District 6. However, this Health Fair was more 'fair' than 'health.' When we got there, a softball tournament was in full swing (as planned), kids were playing on the playground, and lunch was just about to be served. The 'Health' portion of the fair consisted of a couple of tables next to a sidewalk to pass out information. The rest of the fair included inflatables, a mechanical bull, more vendors of food, and contests, finishing up with fireworks. There was a lot of physical activity and a lot of fun, but a very different experience than I had been expecting. It guess it just goes to show that I should never make assumptions, and that health isn't just about sitting around and talking. Activity is part of it too.
All in all it was a great experience, and I'm glad that we got to see both of them and what they can do for the community.

Finishing NYSP

I have just completed my 5 weeks working for NYSP. I cannot believe it is already over! But even though the time went by very quickly, I feel that my role added significantly to the program. The kids participating in this camp come from backgrounds that offer them limited experiences. For instance, a staff member that also works in the schools commented that many of these kids do not receive physical education classes and many have never played the sports offered in camp. I know this to be true from my prior experiences working in the Cleveland school system. Some campers also have never had health class or learned about anatomy and physiology. Therefore, the health education classes I helped to conduct with my small group were very valuable because the kids were given information they might otherwise never receive.

The program was a fun experience for me too. I love sports, so I was glad to have a chance to participate in some sporting events and competitions. The last week was very fun for me because I enjoyed getting ready for the staff versus camper tournament. I also had fun participating in the extra activities occurring throughout camp. For example, I toured the art museum with the campers, attended a community parade, went to a water park, and learned salsa dancing. Throughout my time at NYSP I made many new friends and formed relationships that I know will help me later on in the future. I learned a lot in this experience about people, nursing, the community, and even about myself.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Community Worth More Than Generalizations

I attended my second health fair on the Gila River Indian reservation yesterday. Many individuals look at this population and see an overweight community, who eat fried foods with lots of rice and beans and have the highest prevalence of diabetes in the nation. They see a community of alcoholics who only work in casinos. They believe that this community is lazy, especially regarding their health care. After spending just a month here I see something much different. I see a community that is predisposed to issues with weight, including diabetes. They were a community of hunter-gatherers that ate all summer and fasted in the winter. A heritage that altered their metabolism and didn’t transpose well into today’s world. I see a community working hard to overcome their health issues. Alcohol is banned on the reservation. Health fairs are held almost every month. Heath fairs run by community members attempting to make a difference. The health fair yesterday was unbelievable. The entire time a baseball tournament was going on. A friendly game organized by community members that promoted being active. There was a BBQ that consisted of hamburgers, hotdogs, vegetable pasta, and fresh fruit (pineapple, grapes, and honey melon). To drink there was water, unsweetened tea, and fruit punch. Booths promoting health awareness were set up around the parameter. There were inflatable toys for kids to run through. Teenagers were playing basketball and volleyball. There was even a dance competition. Almost everybody was active. Community members were genuinely interested in the information handed out at the booths. This all day event disproved almost all of the stereotypes that are commonly associated with Native Americans. I’m not denying the issues previously mentioned. I just think it’s important to give credit to this population. After spending just a month here it is obvious to me that this community is working to better itself each and every day. I cannot wait to see what else I can learn about this community the rest of my time here.
*Written July 10th, 2011. Posted late due to issues accessing the blog. *
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Otis Moss Jr. Medical Center

My summer capstone assignment is at Otis Moss Jr. Medical Center. I have had a great experience so far at Otis Moss. This medical center is a primary care center that provides adult, pediatric, and OB services. Gina and I have had the opportunity to work with the nurses and physicians in all three fields. We have participated in various aspects of nursing care such as disease prevention, patient education, immunization, screening, and triage care. Other than working in the clinic we are also helping organize a health screening event called “Live Strong Live Long” campaign. This community wide event will take place on July 23, 2011. Residents in the Fairfax community can receive free health screenings such as for sickle cell, HIV, dental, and diabetes. I’m excited to be a part of this event and to help provide health screenings to the Fairfax community.

Otis Moss also hosted a camp for teenage girls called “Seed to Succeed.” Gina and I also participated in this program by teaching the girls about STDs, nutrition, self-esteem, body image, and other topics. During the camp we taught the girls about HPV and Gardasil by presenting a power point lesson and visual demonstration. From our research and talking with the Gardasil pharmaceutical representatives we learned that there was a very low compliance rate in teenagers receiving or finishing the Gardasil course. Gina and I decided to do our research project on HPV and increasing the HPV immunization rate at Otis Moss.

Through my capstone experience I have learned and experienced the various roles of nursing at Otis Moss. We also have a great relationship with the staffs at Otis Moss and they have been very accepting and cooperative. Working at Otis Moss has allowed me to understand more about public health. People living in the Fairfax community are very supportive to each other and involved in improving their community. I’m excited to be at Otis Moss and I look forward to my rest of capstone experience this summer!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Shaker Heights Senior Picnic

I am currently working on my capstone at the Shaker Heights Health Department where I am learning so much about public health and how it can affect a community. One of my favorite experiences thus far has been going to the Senior Picnic and having the opportunity to talk and work with the senior citizens of the area.

By attending the Senior Picnic, I had the chance to see how health information and services can be brought to the public and presented in a fun and effective way. The Senior Picnic was held at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Building in Shaker Heights and was a great way for senior citizens to get together and interact. A wonderful meal was served, but the highlight of the day had to be the Elvis impersonator. The seniors were up and dancing by the end of the show, enjoying the musical entertainment. It was great to see them having so much fun!

We brought blood pressure cuffs and were able to do twenty blood pressure screenings right on the spot. When Sandi Hurley, the nursing director from the Shaker Heights Health Department that I work with, announced that blood pressure screenings would be available, the senior citizens could not get to us fast enough. They were extremely appreciative of this service that we provided, and it was beneficial because it could be done right away and while they were already at the event. Some do not have the opportunity to regularly have their blood pressure checked, so having this available to the senior citizens was valuable and helpful.

Because it was an extremely hot day outside, the picnic was moved indoors into the community center. We thought that it would be fitting to provide some information about how to stay safe during the heat. Sandi quizzed the audience of senior citizens about what they knew regarding being safe outdoors in the summer. Prizes were given to those who answered the questions correctly. The prizes included hats, summer tote bags, and certificates for free flu shots. The senior citizens seemed to enjoy this fun way of learning about important tips on summer safety. We handed out flyers that included what was discussed as reinforcement. This was also a great way for the seniors to learn more about the health department and the services that it provides, in case they were not aware. The Senior Picnic was a fun event in which the senior citizens were able to socialize as well as learn valuable health information.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

First Month in Gila River

Finishing our first month on the Gila River reservation was something inspiring. We arrived on a Wednesday to get used to the area and prepare for our orientation that Friday. Orientation just consisted of a tour of the main hospital in district 3 (there are 7 districts within the reservation), a small preview of the surrounding district where we would be living throughout our two months, as well as a view of the clinic in Komatke (district 6). We were able to choose our assignments and begin the next week. Emily and I chose to do school health nursing and were both placed in separate schools to work with the nurse. Summer school classes were going on so we seen the students as they came in to be checked up on, given medications, or use inhalers. I received a new perspective on schools nurses throughout this time. Prior to this site, I believed the nurse did not do as much and just mainly sat around doing little paperwork and see the children. It is actually that with a lot more involved. They do planning for the school year and how best to address the students. They attend competencies (which we had the pleasure of attending for three full days) and talk about the previous school year and changes. They go through training to better prepare for their students. That’s one thing that really sticks out; the students are THEIR students. They care for the students and act as providers for them. They go out of their way to get things done for them and even talk to students on a daily basis to see how they are doing and even boost their morale at times. It was great to see the smiles on their faces when they would be given a compliment. While I was there, I assessed a few students when they came in feeling under the weather, gave some medications, and even participated in some of the planning. There was a parent enrollment night for the parents to enroll their students and fill out all the forms for the upcoming school year. I was given the task of finding a major problem that occurs in the schools and create a poster board on it. The topic that was chosen was lice and I learned a lot of information regarding it that I had not even known. It was a great experience working with my school nurse and engaging with the other ones at times as well.

The Pima natives have seemed to have been very accepting of us so far. When we encounter them and they find out that we are students, they like to hear where we are from and seem to like the fact that we are down here. One new experience with the culture is that of tasting their fry bread. Fry bread is a type of dough that gets fried and can be served in multiple different ways. As of now, I have tried it with honey and powdered sugar on it, which was amazing and similar to a funnel cake, and I have tried it with red chili and cheese. Red chili and cheese and fry bread is amazing. The natives that serve it are nice and will have small conversations with us as they prepare it and then when you try it, you just almost fall in love with the dish. I definitely plan on trying more varieties of it as well as sticking with the red chili.

Outside of nursing, this past month has been to exploring the areas around the reservation. We have only seen a few districts but I plan on being in public health this upcoming month so I am hoping to see more of them and have a greater interaction with the community. But we have explored the nearby towns of Chandler, Phoenix, and Maricopa. They are all nice areas and are all within 15 to 30 minutes of the reservation. We have spent a lot of time in Barnes and Noble in Chandler this month to use the internet.

Due to our location, we have also been able to visit the Grand Canyon. Along the way we stopped in Sedona, which is an amazing place and a pretty decent tourist attraction. We did an overnight stay at the Grand Canyon and had an amazing time. The day after our return, we went back to work, and straight from work we left to attend a Cleveland Indians vs. Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game. It was a great game and Cleveland won also. This upcoming month, I will be in Public Health Nursing and hope to learn a lot more about the Pima tribe and continue to enjoy this amazing experience.