Penn College Nursing Students Learn While Helping Peers

Hundreds of soaps, deodorants, shampoos, toothbrushes and other hygiene items were made available to students who need a hand at The Cupboard at Pennsylvania College of Technology, thanks to one of two recent projects by nursing students.

The bachelor’s degree students, enrolled in a Community Health Nursing class, endeavored to serve their community while meeting course requirements.

Students in a Community Health Nursing course at Pennsylvania College of Technology provide hygiene education to their peers while conducting a collection of personal items for The Cupboard, an on-campus food pantry for students in need. (Photo by James J. "J.J." Boettcher, student photographer)

The course encompasses two sections. One staffed a booth at an on-campus health fair, where they educated the campus community about hepatitis C and stress reduction. In addition to talking with guests at the health fair, the students prepared educational materials to reinforce their message.

The second group worked with The Cupboard, an on-campus food pantry that assists students who are experiencing food insecurity. The Cupboard was opened by Dining Services in Fall 2016 and supported nearly 380 students and their families last year.

After consulting with Dining Services Manager Vicki K. Killian, who suggested they conduct a hygiene item drive, the students set up a collection point and information table in a busy building lobby. There, they provided education to their peers about the importance of good hygiene to health. The group continued their collection for two and a half more weeks, resulting in hundreds of items that will be added to the weekly packages of nonperishable foods that The Cupboard provides to clients.

“It’s such a nice added bonus, and the students love to get it,” Killian said.

Among the drive’s supporters were the college’s dental hygiene program, which provided many items, and the Student Nurses’ Association, which provided an incentive to its members for donating.

Students in the Community Health Nursing course learn about the role of nurses in providing health to the community, not only for patients who are already ill, but also by helping to keep communities healthy through education and other programs that boost wellness.

Their goal was to create public-health promotion materials and to learn the importance of community health nurses in workplace settings. They practiced their skills in professionalism, teaching, communication and information processing.

“The project emphasizes health teaching while engaging in service learning,” said Terri A. Stone, assistant professor of nursing, who teaches the Community Health Nursing class. “A service-learning activity that assists students in meeting outcomes and benefits peers on our campus community can be a very valuable and rewarding experience.”

To learn more about nursing majors at Penn College, call 570-327-4519.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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Pennsylvania College of Technology is a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University