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Nursing students lead health fair for seniors

RELEASED: July 26, 2011

Nursing Health Fair
UW-Eau Claire accelerated nursing student Kelsi Mensing worked on email skills with Mabel Holmes during a recent health fair for seniors at Grace Willowbrook in Eau Claire.

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire accelerated nursing students, in partnership with Grace Willowbrook Assisted Living in Eau Claire, recently provided a health care fair for seniors at Grace Willowbrook.

The health fair included familiar health topics as well as new ones, including setting up an email account and sending email. There also was information about Type II diabetes prevention, ways to exercise the mind and body, and the importance of physical activity for fall prevention.

Similar topics, as well as presentations on hearing loss, hypertension, effective hand washing and alternative forms of pain management, also were shared during recent a clinical experience with residents of Heritage Assisted Living Community in Eau Claire. Effectiveness of student teaching and learner retention was then tested through an interactive "Jeopardy!"-style activity.

"The health fair offered older adults the opportunity to pick and choose from their interest areas," said Dr. Lee-Ellen Kirkhorn, professor of nursing. "This year, accelerated nursing students presented their health teaching in two formats. At the beginning of the semester, they taught the same information presented at the fair with small groups of seniors. As their teaching and learning 'capstone,' they presented the content again in the format of a health fair. Having two formats helped to reinforce the information with the seniors, and they loved the fun and creativity of the health fair."

The health fair was developed by accelerated nursing students in the long-term care clinical component of the "Foundations of Professional Nursing Care" class, taught by Kirkhorn and Deb Martin, a clinical instructor in UW-Eau Claire's nursing department. Martin also supervised the students for their clinical experience.

UW-Eau Claire's accelerated nursing program serves individuals who have a degree in another field and wish to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing. Their intensive summer program includes a long-term care focus on communication, health history, and teaching and learning, Kirkhorn said. The health fair provided a capstone for the health-teaching component of students' long-term care clinical experience.

For more information about the health fairs, contact Dr. Lee Ellen Kirkhorn at 715-836-5005 or kirkholc@uwec.edu or Deb Martin at 715-387-7362 or martindm@uwec.edu.

-30-

JP/DW

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