Let's get physical
Nurse Managed Health Center provides service to community, educates students
8:22 a.m., Feb. 8, 2012--The Nurse Managed Health Center (NMHC) at the University of Delaware was launched in August 2010 to provide health care for UD employees on campus, but the center is also providing a valuable interprofessional education opportunity for UD students.
During January 2012, the NMHC conducted physical exams and fitness testing for the entire UD police force, with students from four academic units in the College of Health Sciences participating in all aspects of the screenings under the direction of NMHC director and nurse practitioner Allen Prettyman.
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Through the program:
- Medical technology students collected blood samples, performed routine urinalysis, and processed and prepared samples for shipment to the lab;
- Kinesiology and applied physiology students performed treadmill exercise stress tests;
- Nurse practitioner students performed physical exams and assisted with stress testing; and
- Health promotion students, working through UD’s Employee Wellness Program, gained experience with biometric measurements and health education.
“Interprofessional education has been endorsed by the Institute of Medicine as a mechanism to improve the overall quality of health care,” says College of Health Sciences Dean Kathleen Matt. “The project with UD Public Safety is a great example of an academically enriching interdisciplinary program for our students that also provides a medical screening service for an important segment of the University community.”
Angelica Montes and Nicole Hartnett, members of the 2013 class in medical technology, participated in the program as part of an independent honors contract for MEDT370 Phlebotomy Practicum. Their clinical practicum in the NMHC was intended to enhance their classroom experience.
“This collaboration with the staff of the Nurse Managed Health Center has been valuable to both students, allowing them to gain experience that typically doesn’t occur until winter of their senior year,” says instructor Leslie Allshouse. “Nicole best summed it up as the chance to ‘have a little look into the clinical laboratory.’”
Bethany Hertzog and Kayla Andrews, students in UD’s clinical exercise physiology master’s program, assisted with exercise stress testing for the officers.
“This program is enabling them to see in real time some of the things they’re learning about in class,” says associate professor Shelley Provost-Craig. “In some cases, they’re observing symptoms that they might otherwise only read about in a book, and they’re learning what they should do in these cases. It’s also a nice experience for them to interface with students in other healthcare disciplines.”
Nurse practitioner student Amanda Galloway works in the medical intensive care unit at Christiana Care, where she sees only very sick patients. “Here, I’m working with people who are mostly healthy,” she says. “The experience I’m gaining in performing routine physicals is good practice for what I’ll be doing when I graduate.”
According to Kathy Corbitt, director of UD’s Employee Wellness Program, the current program builds on an existing physical assessment protocol that her office had been conducting for the UD police over the past four years.
“Through our new partnership with the College of Health Sciences, we were able to expand the existing protocol and provide the officers with a very comprehensive physical to include lab work and stress testing among other things,” she says. “Our portion of the appointment assesses their individual fitness level in the areas of muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, and body composition. Together, the entire experience provides them with a better understanding of both their individual fitness level and their overall health. Our staff and students take time during the appointment to discuss their current fitness regimen and set goals to prepare them for their annual fitness test in the spring.”
For the UD police officers, the program enabled all of the required annual health services to be provided under one roof in one coordinated appointment.
“By its very nature, police work can have a profound effect on an officers’ health,” says Chief Patrick Ogden, director of Public Safety at UD. “Officers encounter many challenges to their health that include shift work, physically demanding tasks, exposure to the outdoor elements, and the responsibility of making life-and-death decisions at any moment of their tour of duty, all while maintaining their own safety. A large part of an officer staying safe is by being healthy and staying physically fit. This annual assessment allows officers to maintain a level of health and physical fitness that will help them make it home safely to their families and loved ones at the end of each tour of duty.”
About the collaboration
The medical screening program for the UD police began on Jan. 3 and ran for the entire month. In all, 45 officers were examined and tested.
The NMHC partnered with the following departments and programs to conduct the physicals:
- Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology
- Department of Medical Technology
- Department of Public Safety
- School of Nursing
- Environmental Health and Safety (Medical Surveillance Program)
- Office of Human Resources (Employee Wellness Program)
About the NMHC
The Nurse Managed Health Center strives to enhance opportunities for education, scholarship and research for nursing faculty and students through studying and using best practices and innovative approaches to healthcare and service delivery. The NMHC opened in 2010 in alliance with Christiana Care Health System. Health care services in the NMHC are provided by board-certified nurse practitioners that have teaching responsibilities in the School of Nursing, including mentoring nursing students in the NMHC.
The NMHC is located in Room 119 McDowell Hall and is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to noon Friday. The center accepts health insurance as well as credit cards, cash, and checks. Same-day appointments are available, and walk-ins are accepted.
Article by Diane Kukich
Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson