Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
Nursing students help UM workers stay well
The contract employees who maintain University facilities and infrastructure have direct access to some special maintenance services themselves, thanks to a series of health fairs staffed by UM nursing students.
Conducted since 2004, the sessions are part of UM’s Contract Employee Enrichment Program, which offers educational and health assessment and awareness classes for workers employed by UM contractors.
Offered on the Coral Gables, Miller School, and Rosenstiel School campuses in English, Spanish, and (on the Miller campus) Haitian Creole, a series of health fairs last fall and this spring drew more than 150 employees. UM nursing students provided presentations on varied health concerns as well as cholesterol, vision, blood pressure, and body-mass index screenings.
“The health fairs allow us to provide hands-on, highly diverse experience to our students while helping Human Resources meet its outreach goals,” says faculty member Rosemary Hall, PhD, RN. She notes that the students who work at the fairs have received appropriate training through coursework, skills labs, and clinics. “Any student who is interested in participating will have an opportunity to do so,” Hall says.
“The caring and professionalism of the nursing faculty and students create a sense of trust among our workers,” says Cecilia Calderon Salzburg, contract employee health care coordinator for human resources at UM. Senior Erica Vergara conducted screenings and educational sessions at three employee events last fall. “I enjoyed the opportunity to raise awareness on health issues while building my skills,” she says.
Andrew Jett, an accelerated BSN student, handled glucose and cholesterol testing at health fairs on both the Gables and medical campuses. “The experience was very gratifying,” he says. “It opened my eyes to the need for community health screenings and the possibilities of providing for the uninsured.”