Nine students in the Practical Nursing program at the American Samoa Community College traveled to Ofu and Olosega , Manu’a in mid-November to conduct their yearly Community Outreach Project as part of their nursing course.
Accompanied by instructor Lele Ah Mu, the students were divided into teams to give presentations on five prominent health concerns – Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes Mellitus, Gout, and Nutrition.
They also provided basic screening services in these areas for residents.
The student nurses covered the causes, prevention, pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of complications arising from the four health conditions, and the role of diet in maintaining good health.
Each team also put together a poster and pamphlets on their respective subject areas to share with individual clients.
The outreach project accounts for 20% of the student nurse’s clinical grade, and is intended to develop their leadership and organizational skills as they focus on the planning and preparation for their Manu’a visit.
The students themselves lead the community outreach project through making a problem assessment of the chosen community, designing presentation, and evaluating their own teaching during their presentations through simple questions or activities.
At the conclusion of the community outreach, the students write a reflection in which they evaluate their own learning as well as the effects of their participation in the project.
The Ofu and Olosega community, which numbers less than 100 don’t have regular clinic services available.
Students Toetu’ua Iosefa and June Faapue-Fuiava focused their efforts on High Blood Pressure, and found a higher number of Ofu and Olosega clients with symptoms of that condition than they expected.
Iosefa recalls, “The people who did know they were hypertensive, I learned, had a hard time following a treatment regime because the dispensary does not have a sufficient supply of medication all the time.
“They also said that it’s very difficult to keep coming back and forth to Tutuila for regular check-ups and to get treatment.”
Student Ruby Salome Fia, tasked with presenting on Diabetes Mellitus, said one of the trip highlights was the reception she and her partner Mautumua Maulupe received at Olosega Elementary School “It was really fun how most students were willing to learn about different diseases, especially those who take care of parents with Diabetes and Hypertension,” she explained.
“Plus, we all need exercise, so I was very happy to perform Zumba with my classmate Tualupetu Lauina and the rest of the school.
The nursing students say they would love to go back to Manu’a and stay.
“Many people in Ofu and Olosega need help, and we want to support them.”