Historically, nurses have addressed underserved communities that lack access to quality health care, partnering with service providers across disciplines and the community to promote well-being to vulnerable people. Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden students took part in this storied tradition and gained vital hands-on experience by delivering health education and screenings to local parishioners, neighbors, and homeless people at a health fair hosted by the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Camden, N.J.
“The students were great ambassadors for your nursing program. They spoke well and confidently about their health promotion posters, each informative and appealing to a variety of our needs,” remarked Reverend John Fisher, who leads the Cathedral's congregation and its calling to conduct compassionate outreach to the residents of Camden.
As part of a civic engagement project for their Nursing of Women and the Childbearing Family class, 100 juniors presented on health topics, administered flu shots, and took blood pressure in addition to providing healthy snacks to members of the church and local community. Under the guidance of Dr. Wanda Williams, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing–Camden, students also worked with young mothers enrolled in the TIP program – a federally-funded initiative to improve parenting skills and offer welfare-to-work support to expectant women and new mothers. Dr. Williams' research interests include using a faith-based approach to offer health behavior interventions for African American girls and women.
Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden Associate Professor Dr. Trish Suplee, a recognized expert in maternal health and nursing education, coordinated the health fair with assistance from Deanna Santo, a student fellow with the Rutgers University–Camden Office of Civic Engagement. Rutgers–Camden strives to connect campus resources with the needs of people in the community, and this focus on social justice enriches nursing students' lives through experiential learning and prepares them to become health advocates. Wherever there is need, our nursing students and community partners make health care work!