The Ewing Township Health Department and The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) have enjoyed a collaborative relationship for the past 25 years whereby senior nursing students rotate through this health department to gain community health experience. Healthy People 2010 and the current Healthy People 2020 define a goal to foster linkages between academia and public health practice. The Ewing Township Health Department has fostered and recently enhanced this goal by offering collaboration between practice-oriented education and training through the flu clinics. In 2009, with the introduction of H1N1 and the resulting H1N1 vaccination clinic needs, students gained experience at these clinics which benefited the nursing students, the Ewing Township Health Department, and the residents and vaccination clinic participants. By working the flu clinics, the nursing students are introduced to public health prevention programs which results in increased competencies for public health and preventive practices, the Ewing Township Health Department gains increased competent staffing at the clinics which results in a smooth delivery of services. The experience was so positive thatTCNJnursing students are now utilized at every flu clinic offered by the Ewing Township Health Department. Sophomore nursing student provide support to the Junior and Senior Nursing Students who assess information on the permission forms and administer the vaccines. There are approximately 5 – 10 students at every clinic and aTCNJinstructor is with them at all times. Thus far, approximately 60 nursing students have rotated through the clinics, many of them returning due to their positive experiences.
At this past flu clinic on November 2, 2011the Student Nurse Association (SNA) of TCNJalso offered blood pressure screenings which was well received by clinic participants. The TCNJnursing students were thrilled when Mayor Steinmann visited the clinic and pictures were taken to commemorate the event. The students are looking forward to the next clinic on December 7th.