"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Saving the World, sort of.

Hey all! So, I survived. I passed my exam....only two more important exams to go, and one of those gives me a really big license.

Anyway, I've wanted to post this blog since Tuesday, but haven't had the time to dedicate to it, until now.

This semester in our community clinical (last one!) my group has been circling around a couple of different health care (public health) agencies around the local "vulnerable populations" near my school. I live in New Jersey, you can imagine a *couple* different locations I *might* be talking about.

Working in all of these different agencies helping lots of different age groups but primarily young women, I noticed one thing: These young women were interested in health care. Any type of health care. Me. They wanted to know how to get where I was in life. How to work in a hospital. How to take care of patients in any setting. To them, nursing was just this "thing" that they could do that was easy...but it was just a thought and they weren't sure how to even think about doing it.

Our assignment throughout the semester (as a group) was to work with specific modules in order to teach these young women about a new topic every week. Topics range from Child development, to women hygiene, violence, STDs, Sexual health, etc. 

So, based on this thought that I had that a LOT of these young women shrugged off our existing topics but were profoundly interested in nursing, I thought-- Why isn't that one of the modules? Like, Career Development, or something?

So I brought this up to my professor, as a suggestion for next year. She said this was a GREAT idea and that I should pilot it for this year.

First I thought- No way, How am I going to have time to throw that together? I can't believe I just volunteered myself for a whole other project.

But, a couple weeks later, time came to present. My assignment this week was to go into this homeless shelter with women aged 20-40. These women are allowed to live in this shelter if they participate in this type of program the shelter has set up. The program teaches them how to get a job, how to clean up their lives, how to take care of their kids, how to control their finances, how to get appropriate housing one day, and so forth.  So when creating this whole presentation, I took all that into account.

I realized I only had time to focus on the healthcare field options. I set out to use a couple of resources (thank you Barnes & Noble-My library!) to compose a packet for these women to keep that showed them different nursing type positions, school options, how to pay for school, resume information, etc. While composing this, I realized that the military is also a strong option for many of these women. Well, because I am out-of-my-mind sometimes and have a LOT more courage to do things when its not actually for me, I decided that day that I would go to the nearest Army Recruitment Center and ask for their help.

Low and Behold, I marched right into that Armed Forces Center looking all professional, asked for who ever was in charge (no joke, I really said that), and the army guy went to the back room, past all the push-up and sit up guys, and brought out the big guns (no pun intended). So here are these big important army people (I'm not an expert in army titles) and meek me is asking them for help to donate whatever they could give me that I could give these women. I explained my whole presentation and mission, and prayed that they wouldn't kick me out. When I finally stopped talking, they said that they would love to help! Yay!

I sat down in front of this fancy recruitment screen and waited for them to collect "whatever they could give me". Well, they came out with two huge bags full of tons of different brochures, and about 20 T-Shirts! How kind is that!

On I went, to continue creating the rest of the packet.

Here is what it ended up looking like, In the end:

Health Care Outlook

Please note that Only the "Resume" part is my own work. The Job options, finance and education information is all taken from the reference in the sheet, but put in my own words from the book.

So, overall I was really pleased with this and I was excited to pilot it with these women!

Surprisingly, it went EXTREMELY well! We had their attention immediately.  In fact, they actually knew what we would be presenting prior, and the room was actually packed waiting for us. Usually they are making excuses to get out of listening to us talk. So, step one=success.

All of the sudden, I had this wave of confidence come over me. When I know I'm ahead (step one success) I have a lot more confidence to keep going strong. So I kept every ones attention and went through the packet, let them ask questions. They were fascinated. They realized that they could do what I said they could. That it wasn't too late to do something with their lives. That they could still turn around. They could still be somebody. That there were other ways to work around obstacles that have thrown a roadblock in their road before. These women were excited, inspired.

When it was time to leave, they thanked us for all of our "time, diligence and dedication" and even clapped for us. We stayed behind and really helped out a couple individuals that were really interested in our discussion. We even raffled off the T-shirts and they were really super excited about that.

Overall, it was an amazing day. At first, I thought it was going to be awful based on how this group was reported to act prior. But we did it! Even if just one or two women out of the forty people come out of that discussion making a real change in their life, then we made even just an inkling of a difference. We changed someones life. And by doing this, we enabled this to become a module for the future and hopefully future students can feel this way too!

Sorry for the long blog. I was just really excited about this. :-)

Special Thanks to the Army for their donations and special help!

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