By Colin MacDougall
Once a semester, nursing students hold a Wellness and Health promotion clinic. The nursing students pick health topics from Healthy People 20/20 to educate the campus community about. The initiative topics are put out by the federal government, looking at issues that affect populations in the area. Students all pick different topics of importance, then research and create boards and handouts.
“Their job was to come here and pull in student, faculty and community members here at Washtenaw and educate them about those topics,” said Tiffany Martin, part-time nursing faculty.
Some of the topics covered included the importance of safe sex, sleep, stress management, creation, and relaxation; breast cancer; as well as exercise, and blood pressure and heart health, Martin explained.
“These are community initiatives that we all wanted to spread a little education about,” Martin said.
The sex education table described a few major diseases that students can contract if they don’t practice safe sex. Preventative methods, such as abstinence, were shown. The group even gave away free condoms.
“We’ve got the different ways we can be tested- the blood test, urine, and swabs,” said Brandy Brogits, a 31-year-old nursing major from Belleville. “We are just all about educating about being safe and preventing disease.”
The importance of sleep was displayed, and passersby were shown the ramifications of what happens when you lack sleep.
“You are twice as likely to get in a car accident. Many car accidents are caused from lack of sleep,” said Maryann Lafi, a 20-year-old nursing student of Ypsilanti.
Screen time should be limited before bed, and also caffeine, sugar, and alcohol because they disrupt the REM cycle. If getting to sleep is a problem, solutions include meditation, having sex, exercising (but not recommended two hours before sleep), and vitamin D.
The “revving up rest & relaxation” group picked the categories of walking, running, kayaking/canoeing, biking and rollerblading. They gave out pamphlets for the Health and Fitness center at WCC, and maps of the Border to Border trail – a 35-mile trail that cuts through Washtenaw county. If you won the game they devised, prizes included pedometers, or a guest passes to the Health and Fitness Center.
“Revving up rest & relaxation (focuses on) leisure activities as way to exercise without even realize you’re exercising,” said Casey Schmenk, a 20-year-old nursing student from Milan.
Halt the Salt was the title of the next table. This table was taking people’s blood pressure and informing people what to stay away from, or reduce. They also handed out pamphlets that have a website to help with portion control.
“If you eat too much salt it raises your blood pressure,” said Cecily Luck, a 21 year-old nursing student from Pinckney.
Another group, “stress happens,” educated students about the ability to see the signs and symptoms of stress when experiencing it. It is important because when stressed and experiencing these physical and mental behaviors, like fatigue or headaches, coping methods are recommended, Brooke Pierce, a 25-year-old nursing student from Ypsilanti, explained.
“You want to make sure you know to treat it and cope with it in a positive manner,” Pierce said. “Positive ways of coping is exercising, eating healthy and deep breathing techniques to help you relax and calm your mind.”
The WCC nurses will continue to promote healthy living on campus and in the community. Aside from campus, nursing students visit the Parkridge community center to provide health education, as well. The nurses will be back in the fall semester to continue to promote health preventative care.