Talk to any nurse, and they’ll tell you that half their job is being a teacher.
Often the first point of contact with patients, nurses need to be able to communicate about a wide range of topics, from proper medicine use and routine health and wellness, to promoting better understanding of vaccines.
Sixty-one Longwood University nursing students are taking that education on the road next week to educate the Prince Edward community about the importance of five different vaccines: hepatitis, influenza, pneumonia, shingles and HPV. They will sit at tables at the Farmville Walmart and hand out leaflets—that they created in class—to area residents, hopefully sparking a conversation about vaccines.
“When we talk about citizen leadership, this is the type of thing we mean,” said Dr. Denis Trubitsyn, a biology professor who teaches microbiology to students in the nursing program. “Our nursing students have talked with Walmart pharmacists about which specific vaccines community members need the most information about and built their leaflets from that. So they are addressing a need in their community while learning important communication skills they will need in their professional lives.”
Students will be at tables outside Walmart on Monday, April 30, and Tuesday, May 1, from 4-7 p.m. each day talking to community members about vaccines.
“This is such an exciting project to be a part of,” said sophomore nursing student Mariah P. Foldes ’20. “We learned a lot putting together these leaflets and preparing to talk to community members. The most difficult part was taking the vast amount of information available on each vaccine and deciding what people needed to know in order to make good decisions about their health. It really helped underscore the kind of conversations we are going to have as nurses.”
The public outreach marks the Centers for Disease Control’s World Immunization Week, which promotes positive education about vaccines.