Health fair yields experience for students and savings for older adults

Anne Sizemore

If VUSN students didn’t know how big a difference nurses can make in people’s lives, they do now. Their participation in a health fair at the Margaret Maddox Family YMCA in East Nashville went beyond the traditional health assessment. These students developed Medicare plan comparisons for 32 seniors that could result in potential savings of $75,923.85 for the older adults.

The cost-savings figure came from the Tennessee State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for Medicare Participants, whose staffers provided an opportunity for VUSN students and faculty to engage in the agency’s Medicare training in preparation for the health fair event. Using comparisons created by the students, SHIP was able to estimate that an average savings of $2,372.62 per client was possible.

Roxanne CrittendenThe free health fair also allowed students to put their newly acquired nursing skills to the test. They conducted blood pressure checks, determined participants’ risk for diabetes, administered flu shots and talked with older adults about their health status and health-promoting behaviors. The interprofessional event was sponsored by VUSN and also featured Laura Brown, JD, legal counsel for the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, answering questions about power of attorney; Lacey Russell of TN SHIP answering questions about fraud; and Lipscomb College of Pharmacy students and faculty reviewing and answering questions about medications.

The VUSN students are members of the school’s Enhancement of Community and Population Health course, taught by instructors Carrie Plummer, MSN ’05, Ph.D., ANP-BC, who organized the event, and Natasha McClure, MSN ’11, DNP, CPNP.

Photo, top:
School of Nursing student Anne Sizemore takes a senior’s blood pressure.

Photo, right:
Student Roxanne Crittenden reads a participant’s glucose results.

Images: Daniel Dubois