Health Equity on the Move

Students learn public health nursing at mobile drive-thru nursing clinics

Students learn public health nursing at mobile drive-thru nursing clinics

It’s 9:33 a.m. on a chilly October Monday, and a line of vehicles snakes through a parking lot, waiting for Pittsboro’s CORA Food Pantry to open at 10 a.m.

Nearby, four UNC School of Nursing students and Associate Professor Jean Davison are putting up a tent and unpacking supplies for a mobile health clinic. The parking lot is one of the school’s three mobile clinic sites at which students ask people if they will complete an anonymous health assessment form that might indicate a health problem, such as depression or diabetes.

The other clinics are held at the UNC Farm at Penny Lane in Chatham County and in Wake County at Dorcas Ministries. Fourteen undergraduate students rotate through the Chatham County clinics. Sixteen more students rotate through the Wake County clinic.

Students come to the clinic as part of the school’s courses such as “Public Health Nursing in Community Settings” or “Experiential Learning in Nursing.”

“We’ve learned a lot about what it means to be a nurse in the community, not just a nurse in the hospital,” said Fender, a senior from Asheville. “It’s really cool for them not to have to come to us in the hospital when they need care, but instead it’s us helping people in the community be proactive with their health needs.”

Davison secured a Blue Cross Blue Shield grant to support the clinics’ work to address food insecurity and to perform risk assessments of community members. They also have conducted retinal screenings to prevent blindness.

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