Service is a long-standing tradition in Samford’s Nurse Practitioner Department. For more than 20 years, the department has focused on preparing passionate nurse practitioners to help in underserved communities.
Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing family nurse practitioner students performed free physicals for children ranging from ages one to four at the downtown Birmingham’s Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). This is the second year that the YWCA has requested nurse practitioner students to perform the exams.
The exams counted toward student clinical requirements and the partnership provided an opportunity for students to gain valuable experience while serving their community.
“We seek to prepare caring, competent and compassionate graduates who have a commitment to service, scholarship, lifelong learning and professional practice. Opportunities like this help to further foster the service and professional practice components,” said Sherri Chatman, assistant professor of nursing and certified nurse practitioner. Chatman coordinated the event and oversaw all of the student exams.
Samford’s nurse practitioner programs are delivered through an online format, but when Chatman shared the volunteer opportunity, several students in the Birmingham area quickly volunteered. Chatman says she was impressed by how quickly students responded with interest.
“I am extremely grateful that even during this pandemic, our instructors are still actively seeking opportunities to help us learn while achieving our goals,” said Konica McMullen, a nurse practitioner student.
The students and patients practiced appropriate medical health and safety precautions. During the physicals, the nurse practitioner students checked each child’s vital signs including height, weight, breathing rate, pulse rate and blood pressure. They also examined each child’s ears, nose and throat and practiced social distancing to complete musculoskeletal examinations.
McMullen said the experience taught her to be more versatile. “The opportunity proved to be a valuable learning experience because the children were in their natural environment enjoying playing as we observed them interacting with their peers. This was different from what I would have experienced performing a physical in a traditional office setting,” she said.
Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing offers nurse practitioner course work with entry points for those with associate, bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. Advanced practice registered nurse, nurse practitioner certificates are also available. View all graduate program offerings.