News Releases
California State University, Sacramento

Posted: September 1, 1999

CSUS Students to Open New Helvetia Nursing Center

Students at CSUS will open a nursing services center in New Helvetia this fall, the first time the University's nursing students have tackled such a project.

The students will provide nursing assessments on overall health, physical needs and housing conditions. They will offer health education, assess the development of infants and children, offer blood pressure screenings and help residents access community resources.

In the process, the students will complete the service work required in their community nursing class.

Pat Ackerman, a CSUS nursing professor who teaches community nursing and is helping coordinate the center, says that running the center will provide students a valuable new experience. Typically, students complete service hours in programs such as Healthy Start or through county departments, which don't ask them to take on management duties.

"This will give them a sense of autonomy, a chance to solve problems on their own while working with people where they live," Ackerman says. "And, of course, it will be great for residents."

The center officially opens Tuesday, Sept. 14. It will be located in a small apartment in the New Helvetia subsidized housing community. Initially, the center will be open Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., though plans call for expanding the number of days as the center develops.

The center will be supervised by nursing professor Mary Summers.

The focus will be on providing services that residents of New Helvetia and River Oaks say they want. In fact, it was residents who asked the CSUS division of nursing to establish the center.

To lay the groundwork for the new center, four nursing graduate students carried out a community assessment last semester. What they found, says Ackerman, is a tight-knit community, one that has developed a popular child development center and worked with Sacramento police to dramatically lower the crime rate over the last decade. It is an ethnically diverse community, with many single mothers, welfare recipients and elderly.

New Helvetia and River Oaks initially opened as housing for World War II veterans. It is now owned by the city, and rent is based upon the occupants' ability to pay.

Residents told the four graduate students during the assessment that they needed information on accessing health care, child safety, parenting, nutrition and wellness. Students will provide the information at small classes in the center and by visiting families in their homes. They will also continue asking residents about their health and lifestyle needs, and then develop clinics to address them.

More information is available by contacting Ackerman at (916) 278-7611 or the CSUS public affairs office at (916) 278-6156.


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