USF nurse practitioners provide free care to patients in need
Nurse practitioners play a critical role in health care. Their life-changing work and service make a tremendous contribution to patient outcomes.
That impact is seen at USF College of Nursing and its faculty and students nurse practitioners. They continue to transform the profession in various ways, including their community involvement in Tampa Bay and beyond.
Faculty and master’s and doctor of nursing practice (DNP) students volunteered at the Remote Area Medical (RAM), a free and remote clinic in Bradenton. They provided primary care services to uninsured patients from medically under-served communities.
“Our team provided free care to hundreds of patients with health needs including physical checkups, flu, blood pressure, women’s health, prescriptions refills and other health issues,” said Cheryl Wilson, DNP, assistant professor and director for adult/gerontology concentration at USF Nursing. “Through this clinic, we were able to provide more than $400,000 worth of care to patients in this community, so the impact has been tremendous.”
Students did not only give back, they also practiced skills learned in the classroom.
“This opportunity has been a unique learning experience for me,” said Katie Tinley, master’s degree student at USF Nursing. “This type of fast-paced environment allowed me to interact directly with the patients, practice on equipment and medical resources, and think on my feet.”
DNP student Lachiana Hamilton, felt the same way. She said this was a great real-world training opportunity before she graduates in Dec. 2016.
“I was able to put in a set of sutures after removing a cyst from a patient’s back,” said Hamilton. “I’ve learned this in class, but I hadn’t done the procedure on a patient. It felt great to complete the procedure and do it successfully.”
RAM is a nationwide clinic that provides free medical, vision and dental services to people with limited or no access to medical care. RAM serves in isolated, impoverished or under-served communities. The Manatee County is one of them.
USF Nursing alumni, Lori Dengler, volunteer chair for Manatee County clinic, said the clinic collaborates with local and regional healthcare facilities, doctors, nurses and universities to help patients.
“We appreciate having USF students and faculty here and helping us serve our community,” said Dengler. “We saw more than 1,000 patients in three days, and we wouldn’t have been able to do so without their contribution.”
Hamilton said medical professionals owe a duty to society to give back. “We need to use our skills and capabilities to give something back and help the less fortunate in our community,” she said.
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