RN students continue project developed through community health presentations

In February and March, registered nursing students at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville made a variety of public health presentations designed to make a meaningful impact on community members’ health. A pair of those students are taking their project a step further and hope to see the project become an annual event on UACCB’s campus.

Kristen Jarvis and Andrew Knatcal focused their community health project on mental health and stress management during the Community Health Project Collaborative, coordinated and organized by RN faculty Amy Bullard, which partnered students with the Batesville Community Center, Batesville and Southside High Schools, and White River Medical Center. Jarvis said they specifically wanted to focus on the student community.

“I think a lot of students are stressed out and are not aware of the resources available to help address that,” Jarvis said. “For me, this is a way I can give back to students selflessly, and it’s also a way to destigmatize depression and anxiety. It’s alarming how many students don’t seek treatment options or the people they need to help them relieve that stress. The initial goal is to raise awareness.”

Knatcal said he hoped to use what he’s learning as a nursing student to be able to help others on campus. “I hope we can help students to be more aware, to recognize when there is a problem, and to be able to find a solution to fix that problem. You can’t be a giant necessarily, but you can take steps to make a difference where you are right now. You can let an individual know they are not alone, that they can get better, suffer less, and change their perception.”

Jarvis and Knatcal have fulfilled Bullard’s hope that the projects would lead to meaningful community service. “My word for the year is meaningful,” Bullard said. “I wanted our community service projects to have more meaning for our students. I wanted them to be more involved, give back to the community, and work on becoming more comfortable talking with strangers and working with different groups of people. Nursing is education. There is not a part of nursing that does not involve being an educator. Building strong educators is part of building strong nurses.”

Jarvis and Knatcal will make their presentation for UACCB students from 1-2 p.m. and again from 4-5 p.m. April 22 on campus in the TRIO Suite located in the Main Campus Building. Jarvis said she hopes to see the presentation become a regular event each fall and spring semester. “Having a discussion once isn’t going to have a long-term effect. We have to keep reaching out to students to make that impact,” she said.