Thursday, April 14, 2011
College of Nursing’s anesthesia students respond to hunger emergency
Pain-free surgery and a full pantry—it’s all in a day’s work for the community minded anesthesia students from the Villanova University/ Crozer-Chester Medical Center Nurse Anesthesia Program. They don’t just deliver highly potent drugs to their patients; they also deliver food to those in need—nearly a ton of it.
In celebration of the 2011 Nurse Anesthetist week this winter, the Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists (PANA) Public Relations committee, chaired by Villanova/Crozer’s Associate Program Director Jodie Szlachta CRNA, PhD, sponsored a successful statewide food drive. Approximately 203 students from eleven nurse anesthesia programs throughout the state participated in various community activities and supported statewide agencies to assist neighbors.
In the midst of their rigorous 27-month classroom and clinical education, the Villanova-Crozer junior and senior students focused just as much intensity on the service effort. Jennifer Venafra, SRNA who earned her BSN at Villanova in 2006 and Amy Arbushites SRNA, coordinated the 35 students and 3 administrators who participated from the Villanova-Crozer program. They solicited donations at 10 sites, including both stores and clinical sites. Students stood outside grocery stores in unforgiving weather and even encouraged people to use a texting option to donate if they could not give food. Their efforts paid off for Philabundance, the region’s largest hunger relief organization, which happily accepted multiple car loads of food—1900 pounds of it to be exact—as well as $100.
Philabundance reduces hunger and food insecurity in the Delaware Valley. It serves low income residents at risk of hunger and malnutrition, of which 23% are children and 16% are senior citizens. For those people, better nutrition means better health.
The students were energized by the experience. At the same time they advocated feeding the hungry and created a positive change in the community, the students were also able to promote nurse anesthesia as a vibrant part of the nursing profession.