“Open wide for me and say ‘ahhh,’” a pediatric nurse practitioner student tells the child in front of her.
The little girl is one of 75 children who received a back-to-school physical courtesy of the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions faculty and students at My Sister’s House, a shelter for women and children near Centennial Park.
For more than two decades, the Lewis School nursing alumni, faculty and students have provided physicals to Atlanta’s homeless or uninsured children through the Children’s Restoration Network (CRN) back-to-school fairs. Since 1994, at least 1,100 children had their height, weight and vision screened. They’ve also had hemoglobin checked by undergraduate nursing students and received basic health assessments, including blood pressure checks, done by graduate nursing students.
Numbers for this year’s back-to-school fair were down due to increasing competition from other fairs, but Myra Carmon, associate professor and team leader, notes that the physicals given by her students are unique.
“Children who come to the CRN fair have the opportunity to receive extra care as we are the only ones offering the back-to-school physicals. We are happy to continue serving Atlanta’s children with the physicals. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for our students to practice community health nursing with such an appreciative population,” says Carmon.
The little girl getting her physical may not agree with Carmon, but her mother appreciates the convenience and ease of having her daughter’s physical completed as school begins.