Nursing students, faculty from Radford bring health care to Remote Area Medical clinic

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Faculty and students from the School of Nursing (SON) in Radford University’s Waldron College of Health and Human Services joined professional colleagues in a humanitarian volunteer effort at the 20th annual Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic this summer in Wise, Virginia.

Student and faculty representing the SON’s Radford and Radford University Carilion (RUC) sites helped the mobile, or pop-up, clinic deliver nearly $700,000 worth of services to more than 1,100 patients from across the region.

Radford’s 2019 participants were:

Doctoral candidates from the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) concentration, led by Associate Professor of Nursing Victoria Bierman, Ph.D. The PMHNP team was joined by Valerie Leake, Ph.D., Chair of Radford University’s Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology program.

Graduate students from the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program, led by Associate Professor Judy Jenks, D.N.P ’16, and

Undergraduate, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing students, led by Assistant Professor of Nursing Kemberly Campbell, MSN.

The PMHNP students, based on the Radford campus, assessed and treated individuals who presented for substance use, depression, anxiety and trauma problems. This was the third time PMHNP students served in this manner, while also engaging in this transformative educational experience.

“Opportunities such as this, immerse our students in rural health care at the provider levels where they make decisions about diagnosis and treatment of patients outside of the hospital,” said Jenks, who was leading advance practice nursing students from the Roanoke program to the event for the fourth time.

According to Bierman, there are few licensed psychiatric nurse practitioners in the Commonwealth of Virginia and fewer practicing. The shortage of such behavioral health professionals impairs patient outcomes and hampers integrated delivery of behavioral health services and medical care to those suffering from mental health issues or issues compounded by chronic diseases.

“We have an exciting chance for our advanced practice nurses to gain valuable practice experience and build working relationships with colleagues in an area that desperately needs them,” Bierman said.

Radford undergraduate nursing students welcome and register patients at the 20th annual RAM Clinic in Wise, Virginia, as part of their effort to gain valuable clinical experience.

The six MSN graduate students and two faculty who are based at RUC worked with 60 adult and adolescent patients over two days. In the clinic’s general medical section, the RUC team treated, diagnosed and assessed a variety of illnesses and conditions.

Jenks said the RUC students from the MSN – Family Nurse Practitioners’ (MSN-FNP) program, all practicing nurses, set up their operation at the Wise County Fairgrounds. The MSN-FNP program is an addition to the SON’s advanced practice nursing education offerings.

“The team excelled and did well managing patients without access to resources, which they are used to having,” said Jenks. “I was impressed with their abilities to diagnose and develop treatments in challenging conditions.”

Eight undergraduate nursing students from the Radford campus worked elsewhere on the site providing basic medical assessments and triaging patients as they registered. Campbell and the Radford undergraduate students have provided assistance at the event for the last five years.

“It is important for our students to recognize the increasing population of under-served individuals in the Appalachian area with limited access to healthcare resources,” Campbell said. “The opportunity to provide fundamental nursing care to a small percentage of this community is a valuable experience for the undergraduate students that I hope will impact their practice as nursing professionals.”

 

Don Bowman

Radford University