By Lee Kling
THE YORK College nursing program has one of the best reputations of nursing programs in the area. There are many reasons for that, and it is a well-deserved title. The baccalaureate and master’s programs at York College of Pennsylvania are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Every year the program participates in community health outreach programs to help those in need in York City. This includes the homeless, people living in poverty, children, and families in need.
One of the first projects the department worked on was a dental program for children in York City schools.
Audra Johns is a professor within the nursing department and works hands-on with many of these projects. In York City there are eight elementary schools and there are four registered school nurses who work between all those schools, according to Johns. “We’ve recognized there was an issue with dental care, so I worked with York City health department a couple years ago and developed a grant for providing dental care.” Johns said.
Nursing students get to work with the children and have conversations with them on healthy foods, how to maintain healthy dental habits and show instructional videos. They also use stuffed animals with teeth in them to demonstrate how to properly brush their teeth.
Another big project they worked on this year was a clothing drive for the local elementary schools. Working with all these schools, they’ve noticed that there were many children struggling to get clothes.
“A student needed a change of pants and the school nurse asked if he had any more at home and he said ‘no, this is my only pair,’” Johns said.
This was the moment when they realized these schools needed to keep more clothes on hand, and in response started a clothing drive. Johns said they were able to collect a large amount of clothing to donate for these students.
This fall, the group also delivered first aid kits and masks in addition to checking the blood pressure of the homeless at the Coffee Spot Lutheran Church in York and providing personal care items much needed for homeless in Harrisburg Beacon Clinic.
One of the most recent projects was centered around Thanksgiving and giving out full turkey dinners. “We collected full turkeys, aluminum pans to cook them in, every ingredient for the turkey dinner, and we had extra things that sometimes I don’t even see on my dinner table!” Johns said.
The nursing department collected enough products to make dinners for nine families in York City. Those were delivered Nov. 22, which was also the last day of clinical.
“This took them outside the walls of the hospitals and disease and looking at the entire picture of the community.” Johns said.
Dr. Klaudia Cwiekala-Lewis emphasized the fact that all of these projects wouldn’t take place without the work of these students. “They are all the ones who come up with these ideas; we just support them however we can,” she said.
Along with those projects, for the second time the nursing department took part in the COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) program, which was led by Cwiekala-Lewis.
“One of our strategic goals is to expose students to global learning, and not all students can go abroad.” Lewis said. People from Poland, Liberia as well as the United States were able to meet via the internet and discuss case studies.
Cwiekala-Lewis talks about the program in the audio below.
It’s truly no surprise why this department is one of the best nursing programs in the area.
Lee Kling is a senior majoring in Criminology.
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