USF Nursing Students Aid Back-to-School Health Fairs
USF College of Nursing students were among a contingent of volunteers helping children get back-to-school ready at a series of Hillsborough County student health fairs.
The annual fairs offer free physicals, immunizations, and shot record updates for uninsured or under-insured families who need specific medical requirements in order to start school.
Due to the continuing COVID-19 health crisis, organizers spaced appointments throughout the four-hour event and instituted several other safety measures.
On July 25, traffic was steady at Lennard High School in Ruskin, as parents pulled into the parking lot to check-in. Students from the College of Nursing confirmed appointments and assigned cars to wait in certain zones. Families remained in their vehicles until they were called through an AM radio frequency.
Nursing students also checked each person’s temperature and asked parents to fill out the COVID-19 questionnaire to screen participants. Inside the classrooms, several USF graduate nurse practitioner students performed physical evaluations.
Natasha Zurcher, instructor at the College of Nursing and director of the Accelerated Second Degree major at the Sarasota-Manatee campus, said they were expecting about 80 families that day.
“For us as a college, we are doing this to continue to carry out our mission,” she said. “And for the students, they are able to really make an impact within the community.”
USF nursing students also volunteered at a second health fair location in Plant City. Nursing students also plan to staff health fairs at the Bowers Whitley Career Center in north Tampa and Blake High School on Aug. 1.
Nursing student Christine Holmes, who is in the V-CARE program and spent 11 years as a medical technician in the Air Force, said she was happy to help the community.
“I’ve been missing out on community service since I started the nursing program, and I wanted to get involved. I thought coming to a school function would be a nice way to get back out there.”
Chevonne Simmons, a nursing student in the Accelerated Second Degree major at the Sarasota-Manatee campus, agreed.
“I thought it’d be a good opportunity. We live in their area, so it’s a good way to give back to our community and to apply what we’re learning,” she said.
Story and photos by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing