Pi Phi Chapter

Achieving Sustainability for a Health Outreach Traveling Service

Nursing Research on the Green

2013 Abstract

Amy Reitmaier, RN, PhD; Georgia Stumpf; Megan Isackson; Carrie Spier RN, MS; Winona State University

  • Background:  There is an increasing population in the United States who have a need for preventive health services but have no access to healthcare. Literature shows that without regular access, under-served individuals ignore warning signs until their condition becomes a critical problem, leading to increased ER and hospital costs.
  • Significance:  Free health outreach services provide preventive services and close the gap between this under-served population and primary care. However, barriers, such as limited funding, have made sustaining services difficult.
  • Purpose/objective:  The purpose of this honors project was to assist nursing faculty in developing a sustainable approach to continue and advance the faculty-led, student-run, health outreach traveling service. This service provides preventive health care and educational interventions to under-served populations and those without health care access.
  • Methods/project:  A semi-structured interview process was used to illicit information from six free clinics in the nearby rural (4) and metro (2) area. Questions focused on how these clinics provided for their initial funding, the barriers they encountered in the development of their service, the evaluation of their clinics performance, and the sustainability of their clinic. Data were analyzed using content analysis.
  • Results:  Results thus far have shown successful sustainability related to community involvement and partnerships, local medical and public health center support, having a clear definition of services provided, and developing an organized financial and administrative structure.
  • Clinical implications:  Sustainability of a free health service is not solely reliant upon monetary support, but encompasses availability of staffing, services provided, measurement of outcomes, and support from the community.

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