Nursing Students Offer Health Courses in Community

April 23, 2012
Nursing students teach community health courses

Nursing students teach chronic disease management course in Bedias, TX

For the average Brazos Valley resident suffering from a chronic disease, managing one’s own health can be daunting. For some, it may be arthritis, but for those with heart disease, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis or emphysema, self-management techniques can be critical.

At the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) College of Nursing, Assistant Professor Sonia Turnbow, M.S.N., WHNP, RN-c, is passionate about providing chronic disease management courses to citizens of the Brazos Valley. As part of her community health course, nursing students study under master trainers and venture into the community to teach these chronic disease self-management workshops.

“As my primary goal, I want students to be in communities interacting with real people,” Turnbow said. “This isn’t something you can simulate.”

Fall 2011 workshops were taught to citizens in Bryan-College Station and surrounding rural areas of Bedias, Madisonville, Caldwell and Navasota. Nursing students interacted with community members to provide six-week workshops that have proven to enhance self-management skills, reduce doctor visits and decrease the length of hospital stays.

Turnbow and her students also find that participants complete the course with heightened self-confidence in their ability to make better choices regarding their own health care. The workshops allow nursing students to provide a service to the community while enhancing their communication skills and techniques for interacting with patients.

In spring 2012, the TAMHSC-College of Nursing offered A Matter of Balance course for Brazos Valley residents through the baccalaureate course on aging taught by Assistant Professor Wanda Seaback, M.S.N., ANP, RN. A Matter of Balance introduces information and interactive activities on how to decrease falls and increase balance.

— Blair Williamson