Mount Carmel Outreach doesn’t just touch lives; it changes them for the better. That’s why it has been chosen as the beneficiary of Mount Carmel Foundation’s 2015 Champagne & Diamonds Gala, to be held on Saturday, February 14 at the Hilton Columbus at Easton.
On a typical day, Mount Carmel Outreach touches more than 100 lives in central Ohio. Those lives belong to homeless residents, who receive urgent medical care and referrals to social service programs. They are victims of personal trauma or crime, who receive much-needed counseling and support. They are new moms and babies, who need help with challenges like breastfeeding, safe sleep and post-partum depression. They are community members who want to learn about taking control of their own health and wellness.
The Outreach program was created by Mount Carmel in 1985 with a vision to bring programs and services to members of our community who were facing barriers to health care and family wellness. The program was initially designed around a small mobile unit that would travel to partner agencies and provide nurse triage and patient assessments. Today, thanks to the continuous support of the Mount Carmel Foundation, this significant program is much more. Mount Carmel Outreach now includes six programs helping thousands of residents each year with a wide variety of needs:
- Welcome Home provides new moms and babies with a home visit by a registered nurse to provide a maternal and newborn wellness check to families who delivered at Mount Carmel.
- Help Me Grow provides health and developmental services to families with children with developmental delays.
- The Mobile Coach provides an urgent care facility for homeless, uninsured and underinsured community members. It also supports the Street Medicine program, which brings medical care and referrals to residents “living on the land.”
- The Crime and Trauma Assistance Program provides trauma-focused therapy to victims of crime and those who’ve experienced a traumatic event.
- Our Church Partnerships equip participating congregations for the promotion of wellness in their faith communities.
- The Community Health Resource Center offers classes and resources, which promote health and wellness to members of the community in need. Classes offered include: diabetes education, childbirth education, cancer services, community meetings, Tai chi and Moms 2B, a program for new mothers.
With the need for this program continuing to grow, Mount Carmel is always looking for helping hands to join the team. Outreach is one of the many career paths available to graduated nurses, but is often overlooked. It is important that students who are interested in Outreach graduate with the necessary skills to feel comfortable in the diverse environments that they will be working in. Is there a way for students to prepare for a career in outreach before graduation?
Barb Barta, PhD, RN, Associate Dean for the Undergraduate Program, suggests taking the senior level community nursing course NURS 421/49, which is the course that has the most connection with care of patients/individuals in the community. Four other courses have community based clinical experiences are NURS 307 Mother Infant with Shirley Cooley, PhD, RN; NURS 308, Mental Health with Deloris Bills, MS, RN; NURS 406, Gerontology with Catie Mauer Baack, MS, RN-BC, CNS; and NURS 407, Pediatrics with Hannah O'Handley, MS, RN, PNP.
As for a community outreach experience, Becky Peyton, BSN, RN, last year’s chair of the community service committee, cites many different ways to get involved. “There are many opportunities for students to help the community. Many students read to Avondale students, help serve meals at soup kitchens, lead games and activities at FamJam, and some go on mission trips. These are just a few of the many service activities students do.” Peyton also suggests reaching out to this year’s chair, Jennifer Saffell, MSN, FNP-BC, to discuss volunteer opportunities that are related to community outreach.