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Nursing students impart valuable wellness info to college employees

Students in the Community Health Nursing course recently provided a round of one-hour wellness courses for Pennsylvania College of Technology employees.

Four sessions were presented in early April on two topics: “Colon: Love Your Interworks” and “Suffering From Burnout.”

For each session, a team of students presented research; developed websites, handouts and tools to check participants’ understanding; and provided learning activities.

Nursing students who offered a series of employee wellness sessions line the Breuder Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center atrium staircase.
Nursing students who offered a series of employee wellness sessions line the Breuder Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center atrium staircase.

During the “Love Your Interworks” sessions, students educated employees about risk factors and symptoms for colorectal diseases and debunked some common myths (including that it’s a “white man’s disease,” that if you don’t have symptoms, you don’t have cancer, and that it cannot be prevented). They provided prevention tips and explained a variety of screening tools.

Burnout, students explained during a course on that topic, “is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” They highlighted precursors of burnout (including lack of control, lack of social support, unclear job expectations and work-life imbalances), and symptoms (fatigue, headache, change in appetite, feeling like a failure, loss of motivation, self-isolating and procrastinating). They shared long-term effects of burnout in terms of mental health, medical problems and personal consequences, and provided prevention and coping strategies (including a deep-breathing exercise).

“I hope that those who attended gained a lot of knowledge from our session,” said nursing student Allyson J. Kibler, who helped to present a session on preventing burnout. “Burnout is very prominent in all majors and careers. It is very important to identify signs and symptoms and know how to prevent burnout before it happens to have an overall healthy life. As a nursing student, I know from firsthand experience that burnout can happen very quickly without the proper knowledge of preventative actions, healthy coping, and creating an overall life balance.”

Community Health Nursing is a required course for the college’s bachelor’s degree nursing students. It addresses a nurse’s role in teaching individuals, families and groups in the community about prevention and health promotion. They learn cultural awareness as they prepare to address the needs of diverse populations.

The offerings were facilitated by the Penn College Wellness Committee, spearheaded by Human Resources and the college’s wellness coordinator, Carmen Terry.

“It is nice that they are willing to work with students to deliver health information,” said Terri A. Stone, assistant professor of nursing, who teaches Community Health Nursing. “It enables students to meet course objectives regarding health promotion and health education along with providing college staff important health information.”

Participating students and their hometowns: Samar Alquraish, of Williamsport; Kylee D. Butz, of Lawrenceville; Amanda J. Confer, of Milroy; Nikki Crawford, of Milton; Tanner J. Ebright, of Middleburg; Trudy M. Estep, of Selinsgrove; Tabitha Flory, of Newmanstown; Caroline N. Green, of Picture Rocks; Kristin Harer, of Montgomery; Maci N. Ilgen, of Spring Mills; Allyson J. Kibler, of New Columbia; Leah Kline, of Middleburg; Lauren R. Lopez, of Long Valley, N.J.; Madison T. McClelland, of Columbia Cross Roads; Julie A. Patton, of Shavertown; Mongkon Saisangkathitichat, of Cogan Station; Rosey Thomas, of Port Allegany; and Michael Weber, of Williamsport.

Photo by Terri A. Stone, assistant professor of nursing

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