All nursing students are driven to the field by a desire to take care of people.
At Queens' Presbyterian School of Nursing, our students' passion for helping others extends well beyond the classroom as they volunteer for the greater good of the community. Several times each year, they lend their time and growing body of knowledge to provide underserved groups with health screenings and wellness education. They also help first responders by receiving disaster response training and participating in emergency drills.
"Our students are eager to apply their skills to help real people who are facing real problems," said Tracy Petleski, a professor in the Associate Nursing program. "It's a beautiful thing to watch them see how their knowledge and compassion affect the outcome of their cases."
Nursing students also volunteer to run health fairs at schools and at big events, giving them practical hands-on experience with diverse populations. One example was the fair they staffed at the CIAA basketball tournament where they offered screenings for conditions that largely affect the African American community.
PSN students have traditionally served the Lincoln Heights and Wilson Heights communities, serving residents who live below the poverty level, some going without heat or running water in neighborhoods just 15 minutes from our main campus.
Our nursing students also recently traveled with Presbyterian Hospital's Community Cruiser to serve the Mobile Mexican Consulate. Forty students helped give 342 H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines in six hours to Mexican immigrants who were visiting the Consulate for help with paperwork and other issues.
Among the Queens volunteers were Julia Garcia and Lesley Williamson, both students in the Accelerated Bachelor of Nursing program.
"When everyone does what they can to help, no matter how minute it may seem, their actions make the ultimate goal more attainable," Williamson said.
"This is the way it should always be," Garcia added.
The students also benefit from working with health care professionals and first responders. Last spring, a large group participated in the N.C. Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness drill at an Air National Guard facility to help the government assess how well the EMS system works. The mock disaster involved handling 150 "victims" to be loaded onto a C-130 aircraft and then unloaded in 30 minutes for triage into one of two health care systems- Carolinas Medical Center or Presbyterian hospitals.
PSN students have also traveled to Louisiana to serve victims of Katrina, staffing a coliseum clinic run by medical volunteers and the American Red Cross.
Still more students have been trained by the State Medical Alert Team and certified for deployment in the event of local or national disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti.