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Community Outreach

Over the past quarter-century, professional nurses have emerged as a driving force in meeting the nation’s need for access-to-care. Faculty members and students from the University of Florida College of Nursing are working to fill this void by providing quality primary care, health promotion and disease prevention activities for Florida’s underserved populations.
Through clinical affiliations, partnerships and the College’s faculty practice initiatives, faculty members and students provide needed health care services and model the most current practice approaches.

College of Nursing faculty members and students can be found throughout Florida’s communities. Below are some key examples of community outreach performed by the College of Nursing.

Archer Family Health Care

Located in the rural town of Archer, Florida, Archer Family Health Care is the College’s nurse-managed health care and includes adult, pediatric, psychiatric, women’s and community health care. The center provides care to underserved patients in the Alachua County and surrounding areas. What is now a nationally recognized nurse-managed health center began in a small renovated house in rural Archer in 2001. The Archer Family Health Care clinic, operated by students and faculty members from the College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy and College of Medicine, now provides more than 4,000 visits per year to underserved patients.

About 85 percent of the clinic’s patient population earns below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and more than half do not have health insurance. Patients travel from all corners of Alachua County and six surrounding counties for treatment. The clinic also serves as a clinical teaching site for more than 75 nursing and pharmacy students each year.

Archer Family Health Care demonstrates the effectiveness of nurse-managed health care, teaches students about interdisciplinary care delivery, and makes real our commitment to assist underserved families and individuals.

College of Nursing Faculty Practice

College of Nursing Faculty Practice: Faculty members provide health care services to a variety of patients, from neonates to elders, through faculty practice. In 1998, the College became the first Florida college of nursing to incorporate as a nonprofit Faculty Practice Association. The Association provides structure to the College’s service mission and supports the education and research missions as well.

Most of the settings in which faculty members practice focus on rural and underserved populations. Patients include those with chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, pregnant women, cancer patients, patients with chronic back pain, families, children, psychiatric/mental health patients, and pediatric trauma patients.

Faculty members have students with them at their practice sites, and this provides the students with valuable learning experiences. Practicing faculty members are better teachers because of the currency of their practices and they are able to maintain national certification requirements.

Agencies with which the College partners include the Maternal-Infant Care Clinic in Reddick; the UF Shands Eastside Community Practice in Gainesville, WellFlorida Council’s HIV/AIDS clinics throughout north and central Florida; and the UF College of Medicine’s Division of Neonatology.

AHEC Tobacco Training and Cessation (ATTAC)

ATTAC is an educational interdisciplinary program created by University of Florida faculty members that includes first-year medical and dental students and fourth-year nursing and pharmacy students. Each semester these students work together to review case studies dealing with tobacco and other substance abuse within a community in order to examine their own behaviors as healthy role models and explore interventions for tobacco cessation with clients.

The College has maintained a mutually beneficial relationship with the Alachua County Organization for Rural Needs (ACORN) Clinic, a nationally recognized program that has provided low-cost medical and dental care to residents of Alachua, Bradford and Union counties in North Central Florida for more than 30 years. College of Nursing faculty members and students have been involved since the earliest days of the clinic. College faculty and students provide health care services at the clinic.

ElderCare of Alachua County

ElderCare of Alachua County serves as an advocate for the elderly and provides services that build capacity, maximize independence, and enrich the quality of life for seniors in Alachua County and North Central Florida.

Students in College of Nursing community health classes assist with programming at all of ElderCare’s meal sites, located in Gainesville, Micanopy, Archer, Waldo, Hawthorne and High Springs.

These congregate meal sites offer hot lunches for seniors. Each meal meets one-third of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of nutrients for the senior age group. A variety of activities are provided at meal sites, including arts and crafts, sewing and recreational and educational programs.

Students provide education to all clients receiving meals at congregate meal sites or the home-delivered meal programs.

Forest Pine Summer Quest

Forest Pine Summer Quest is a community partnership providing healthy recreation for children living in subsidized housing. Sponsored by the Gainesville Housing Authority, the purpose is to provide a structured environment and to engage these children in educational and healthy programs. The College of Nursing has been involved with the camp since its inception in 2000.

College of Nursing community health students are involved with many aspects of  the program, which includes recreation such as basketball, jump rope and gardening, as well as special programs like personal safety, drug prevention, career programs, and attitude counseling. In addition, nursing students play a big part in teaching the children proper nutrition habits through cooking activities and meal planning. For more information, please read the Gainesville Sun article.

St. Francis House

St. Francis House is a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Gainesville, Florida which provides emergency food, temporary shelter, and related support services in a safe, secure environment for people in Alachua County who, for whatever reason, find themselves homeless and hungry. St. Francis House provides these services in a supportive environment where people can begin to manage their problems effectively and re-establish themselves as productive members of the community.

Staff and volunteers introduce guests to many community resources available to resolve problems underlying their crises. College of Nursing students provide health education and case management for families staying at the facility. Students developed a safety intake interview, which includes focusing on crib safety for parents and preventing SIDS.

The Bone Zone

The Bone Zone is an educational hands-on tool that helps create a friendly, positive environment where second grade students learn how good nutritional habits can impact health and well-being over their lifetimes. In conjunction with Suwanee River AHEC, nursing students teach children how to keep bones healthy and prevent osteoporosis. Nursing students use stories, songs and dances, math and hands-on work to teach students about the roles of calcium and vitamin D in the prevention of osteoporosis. In addition, students also learn about the causes of osteoporosis such as smoking, lack of exercise, and alcohol.

Gainesville Housing Authority

College of Nursing faculty and students provide health promotion and disease prevention activities to residents of many of these subsidized housing communities. This includes health monitoring, disease prevention, and individual and group teaching and counseling.