Published May 1, 2022
COVID-19 played havoc with the School of Nursing’s best-laid plans to continue Remote Area Medical field experiences for its students. But in fall 2021 students and faculty resumed their in-person service with the organization in rural and underserved areas.
In September 2021, six UB students – including, for the first time, DNP students, under supervision of clinical associate professors Molli Oldenberg and Linda Paine Hughes – provided free medical care to underserved and uninsured populations in Olean. Nursing students triaged patients, performed physical exams, formulated assessments and plans, vaccinated patients, and performed testing, such as glucose monitoring.
“These experiences offer students valuable opportunities, immersing them into new and different clinical settings, which strengthens their autonomy, confidence, physical exam and assessment skills, ability to work as a team and leadership skills,” Oldenberg says.
“Their personal experience with the underserved population and health inequities that exist help them to understand the importance of their role in health care.”
UB Schools of Nursing and Dental Medicine returned to Knoxville, Tennessee, with Remote Area Medical in February 2022. Nursing students primarily assisted dental students, administered flu shots and triaged.
Alyssa Weissenger, a board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and clinical assistant professor in the UB SON, also joined Linda Paine Hughes and Joann Sands, clinical assistant professor, to add a mental health component to the care the team provides:
“The students were provided with behavioral health statistics and review of brief psychotherapeutic modalities prior to the trip,” says Weissenger. “They utilized distress tolerance skills for patients in anxious distress pre- and peri- procedures, and cared for patients using trauma-informed language, as many of the patients immigrated to the region from South America. Some of the patients presented with trauma and stressor-related symptoms, and the students were sensitive to their unique needs. They developed their understanding of ethnological psychiatry and individual cultural responses to pain and trauma.”