The School of Nursing at held its fifth annual Wellness and Health Fair as the spring semester drew to a close. Sophomore students enrolled in the course Nursing 291: Health Promotion set up their poster boards on various critical health issues. Health Promotion professor Dr. Joy Bliss coordinated the efforts, assisted by the faculty and staff of the School of Nursing.
The displays were opportunities to share with the Chaminade ‘ohana the outreach work students had done during the semester to promote healthy behaviors in the community at large and to promote healthy choices with faculty, staff, and students who attended the fair. The students provided health information on a broad range of topics such as diet and nutrition, oral health, heart health, cancer prevention and early detection, domestic abuse, suicide prevention, sexual health, and more.
Held in the Henry Hall Courtyard on April 28, the Friday before Lei Day weekend, the fair took on a Hawaiian ambiance. The Saint Louis School Hālau made a guest appearance to open the program.
Three Papakōlea women strung lei of plumeria and shared them with the crowd. The community leaders of Papakōlea had conducted a health needs assessment of their Native Hawaiian Homestead residents. Based on the results, project possibilities emerged. The ideas focused on promoting ‘ohana health and aging-in-place safely, enabling the community to remain whole, while providing education and access to healthcare. Students participated in training opportunities for direct service to Papakōlea as furnished by the valued partners. Papakōlea leadership shared with Chaminade School of Nursing students the gift of their mana’o through training sessions of cultural competency, an understanding of community, perspective on the contexts for healthcare and public health nursing, and their respective roles.
Keeping with the Lei Day theme, the fair offered a healthy Hawaiian food plate (low salt, low fat and still ono) and at another table the traditional healing drink of kava. Kupuna (elders) shared their expertise in Native Hawaiian healing therapies including la’au lapa’au (Native Hawaiian herbal remedies) and lomi lomi (Native Hawaiian massage therapy). The fair also offered alternative and holistic therapies such as “Healing Touch,” an energy therapy in which practitioners consciously use their hands in a heart-centered and intentional way to support and facilitate physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
Dressed in dark blue Chaminade School of Nursing polo shirts, Michelle Selga, Ciana Russ, Shenaniah Romias, and Kyle Ranochak presented their “Homeless in Paradise” project. They displayed a poster board with accompanying slides on a laptop and discussed details with those who had questions.
The four students did their service learning project in March at a homeless campsite adjacent to Waianae Boat Harbor. Mrs. Elisala, a nurse practitioner and faculty member at the University of Hawaii, coordinated a tour of the homeless community and informed the students on the health needs of the community.
In her reflection, Selga described her experience. “From the outside, you would not even imagine what goes on inside their community. The first step inside, you’re greeted by makeshift houses lined up along a beaten pathway. As you dive further in, you begin to realize how amazing these people are. Towards the center of town, which consists roughly of 200 people, lies a garden and chicken coop,” Selga remarked. “The biggest eye-opener for us was seeing how much help these people needed. A doctor there, who volunteers his time every week, explained to us that the greatest problem is they don’t have enough people to help.”
All the students felt that the experience was meaningful and wanted to do more. “It would be nice in the future to see us collaborate with Mrs. Elisala’s team and be able to give back to the people here in Hawaii. As nurses, we want to be able to give more to the community and expand our experience in the nursing profession,” concluded Selga.
The Homeless project was just one of many presentations exhibiting the broad range of topics that students undertook for their research. The Wellness and Health Fair successfully showcased competent and caring students who were well on their way to becoming competent and caring nursing professionals.
Chaminade’s School of Nursing is a four year, full-time undergraduate program that offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The unique program immerses students in nursing preparation with educational curriculum, human-patient simulations, community outreach projects, and service-learning and supervised clinical experiences. The curriculum for our undergraduates program is consistent with the Baccalaureate Essentials of Nursing produced by the American Association of Collegiate Nursing. The nursing program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.