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Future nurses take their health education show on the road

by Luanne Williams

Most Wingate University nursing students will most likely wind up working in hospitals or doctor’s offices, but they’ve recently been honing their health education skills at elementary schools and community events.

Wingate University nursing students teach first-graders about oral health.

On Sept. 11, senior nursing students taught first- and second-graders at Marshville and Wingate elementary schools about proper oral hygiene practices. They gave out toothbrushes, toothpaste and stickers to help youngsters remember what they learned. Ten days later, the topic was sun safety at the 4-H Foundation’s Safety Town exhibit, held at the Union County Agricultural Center.

“We provided information about preventative measures in the sun and adequate hydration,” said Nhan Nguyen, who worked alongside classmates Morgan Medlock, Sarah Curlee and Antonio Booe at Safety Town. “We also gave the kids an opportunity to create some DIY crafts: decorating sun visors and coloring infographics.” The group was able to reach about 75 children ages 2 to 12.

Tomorrow, seniors in the nursing program will head to Unionville Elementary’s Fit for Life event, where they will expand their repertoire, presenting on oral hygiene, healthy nutrition and exercise, good mental health, how to address bullying, and the benefits of limiting screen time. They will also perform vision screenings and teach proper hand-washing/germ-fighting techniques, a timely topic at the beginning of flu season.

Instructor Kay Edwards says the events and community partnerships enable the nursing program to advocate for health promotion, collaboration and unity.

"The elementary students in the community are able to interact and connect with diverse nursing students and are able to see that anybody can be a nurse,” she said. “No longer is nursing a female-driven occupation, rather an opportunity for anyone to be able to help others.”

Edwards said that while elementary students learn from her future nurses, the nursing students also take something away from the process, polishing their presentations and listening skills and answering impromptu questions.

“I am very proud of these students for taking this service opportunity to heart and running with it,” Edwards said.

Wingate’s bachelor’s degree program in nursing graduated its first cohort in 2014 and has recently moved into the Levine College of Health Sciences.

Learn more about Wingate University’s nursing program.

Oct. 3, 2019