Minot State University nursing student Valerie Legaspi carefully checked Henry Towers resident Nora Roen's feet during the Adult Maintenance Health Clinic on Friday.
Roen said she has been a regular at the clinic run by Minot State nursing students since it started in 2008 and is glad it's here. Students like Legaspi are glad to have an opportunity to get some hands-on experience with patients, which will help them in their future careers.
Assistant nursing professor Nikki Medalen, who teaches the 456 Public Health Nursing Class, and Dawn Fredrich, who teaches the Foundations of Nursing class, said the clinic got its start because there was a need in the community. At the time there was a two-year wait for existing foot care clinics in the community. At the same time, there was a shortage of field experience opportunities for public health nursing students.
Minot State University nursing students Cameron McGeough, front left, and Renju Maharjan, front right, talk to nursing student Jordana Kane, back left, and assistant nursing professor Nikki Medalen about patient charts during the Adult Health Maintenance Clinic held Nov. 9 at Henry Towners.
The clinic is offered at Henry Towers every two weeks during the school year and is free to people 55 and older or with disabilities. Clients are asked to make a voluntary donation. They need to make appointments beforehand. People who want a schedule of upcoming clinics or to make an appointment can call 839-9295.
Cameron McGeough and Jordana Kane, who are both in the Foundations of Nursing class, said that they are learning the basics of care as first semester students. They are learning how to conduct a complete patient history, which includes a list of medications the patient is on, the last time he saw a doctor, and simple blood pressure checks.
The patient history can be more involved than it might sound, said McGeough, who said he doesn't just ask a list of questions but engages in some small talk with the patients that will put them at ease and might garner more information about health concerns.
Renju Maharjan, a student in the Public Health Nursing class, said students in her class do foot care. The feet can tell the nursing students a lot about the overall health of the patient. They check for numbness or swelling, callouses and abrasions. Foot health can tell the students something about a diabetic's blood sugar control, kidney health or the health of the circulatory system. Patients with problems are referred to doctors for follow-up.
The Adult Health Maintenance Clinic also gives the nursing students an opportunity to see healthy senior citizens in their everyday environment, said Medalen, which gives them a chance to see how the environment might impact health. Most of the time students are more likely to see senior citizens who are ill, but many of the patients they will see throughout their careers will be healthy.
The students said they enjoy getting to know their patients and listening to the stories they tell about their lives. One regular at the clinic is a headliner musician at the Norsk Hstfest.
Maharjan, McGeough and nursing student Jordana Kane said they aren't sure what area they want to specialize in yet, but Kane said there will be very few areas where a nurse won't be working with senior citizens. They are glad to have the opportunity to work in the field at the Adult Maintenance Health Clinic.