Friday, December 12, 2008

University of the Fraser Valley Nursing Students' Health Fair

Where do you turn if you have health-based question, but it’s not urgent enough to call your doctor? Nursing students at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) know it’s sometimes hard to find up-to-date information and that’s one of the reasons why they organize an annual Health Fair.

Each fall, UFV’s fourth-year nursing students host a public health fair, where they provide face-to-face information about a number of common health issues. This year’s event took place at Sevenoaks Mall in Abbotsford on Friday, October 17. Topics covered by the nursing students include the newly introduced HPV vaccine, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, arthritis, childhood asthma, and preventive dental care for pre-school-aged children.

UFV Nursing faculty member Sheila Edwards says it’s a great opportunity for the students to thoroughly research a health issue and then present material and resources to the public in a friendly, informative way.

With the HPV vaccine being introduced to all Grade 6 and Grade 9 girls in this school year, Edwards says her students decided it was the perfect time to openly discuss the vaccine, its benefits, and the risks of cervical cancer. Their goal is to provide health-based answers to parents, girls, and women between the ages of nine and 26 years of age, and the public in general.

The students also determined that many parents have questions about dental care for preschool children; so again, this was a topic they have researched and are hoping to share their information.

The public health fair is part of UFV’s community health course taken by fourth- year nursing students. Edwards says it is a great opportunity for the students to deal directly with the public, while learning about topical issues. UFV nursing students have hosted these public health fairs for about nine years now.