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Nursing Student Projects Still on Display at SRMC

April 19, 2006 — Community health-oriented projects created by nursing students at the University of the Virgin Islands are currently on display in the main lobby of Schneider Regional Medical Center. A healthy snacks program (in place at five St. Thomas schools) and a video that may debut in the SRMC emergency room were just a few projects on display Wednesday at the hospital.
The first set of projects was on display Wednesday, the second set will be on display from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday.
Dr. Maxine Nunez and Dr. Barbara Jamison of UVI guided the 13 students in their projects, which were part of a senior-level nursing leadership course.
"All of them are aimed at bringing about some health change in the community," Nunez said.
Other projects include information for teachers on detecting students who have been sexually abused, a presentation for nurses coming to the Virgin Islands from other places, and a project on the language barrier between nurses and some patients. Each of the students worked on their own individual project throughout the semester.
Nursing student Sania Richards enlisted students and administrators from five St. Thomas schools in her "Smart Schools Select Sensible Snacks" project, which involved putting fruit juice and water in vending machines and forming student groups at each school called the "Sensible Snack Squad." Students also put up posters about healthy eating at each school and talked to other students.
The five participating schools are Church of God Academy, Seventh Day Adventist School, New Testament Academy, Sts. Peter and Paul School and Wesleyan Academy.
Richards said the positive peer pressure aspect was integral in making the project effective.
"Peer pressure is very big," Richards said. "They listen to their peers."
Richards also noted that weight is a concern for students. "All of them said they don't want to become overweight," Richards said.
Richards showed students a presentation that included photos of a cavity-filled mouth and cartoon drawings of people so overweight that they could not fit through a McDonald's restaurant front door.
"When I presented it and they saw this, it really threw them off, and they started to think they should give it up," Richards said of her presentation about the risks of sugar-filled snack foods and drinks.
School officials, Richards said, were also very receptive to her project.
Richards said the principal at Church of God Academy told her the students gave him no problems with the healthy snacks program and that they adjusted quickly to their new snack options.
Richards said the idea for her project came from seeing an increase in the number of overweight children in local schools. She said she hopes to see a decrease in childhood obesity and related chronic illnesses.
Nursing student Jo-Anne Winston wrote and directed an 11-minute video designed to educate patients on emergency room procedures. Winston showed the video to hospital officials Tuesday and proudly displayed their evaluations of her project Wednesday. All of the officials who had seen her video gave her very high marks for organization, clarity, usefulness and more. The video consumed countless hours of her time since early March, Winston said.
Winston has worked as a nursing assistant in the emergency room for more than two years. The idea came from her experience with different patients who asked similar questions about emergency room procedures.
"I embraced it because I thought it was well-needed," Winston said.
Her objectives were to relieve anxiety and increase cooperation from patients.
"Overall, it translates to increased patient satisfaction," Nunez said of Winston's project.
Winston said she hopes hospital officials show the video to patients in the waiting area of the emergency room.

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