Texas A&M School of Nursing goes mobile, filling gaps in rural healthcare
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Across Texas, 17% of residents are uninsured. But, that number jumps to 25% in rural communities, according to Rural Health Information Hub.
The Texas A&M School of Nursing is creating a mobile program in order to bridge gaps for residents.
“Rural communities throughout Texas are often underserved and lack access to healthcare. In fact, Texas ranks last amongst the 50 states in access to healthcare,” Dr. Cindy Weston, the director for the program and Associate Professor, said. “This is a great way that we can increase access by providing this mobile care through school-based clinics.”
The group is currently renovating an RV in order to travel and provide care. That will be complete in Spring 2023, containing two exam rooms for patients.
Until that is complete, the School of Nursing will be partnering with schools in rural communities in order to provide exams, sports physicals, immunizations and health education.
“We’re really excited to partner with the rural school districts. Schools are the hub of any community and to be able to establish health care within a school. In a school-based model, it’s a center within the community that everyone gravitates towards, so it becomes then a Center for health and wellness too,” Weston said.
Those providing care will be physicians, nurse practitioners and students. Not only will they have the chance at hands-on learning for healthcare but will get the chance to see healthcare inequalities up close.
“We love to recruit students from rural and underserved communities and have them go back as registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses to serve in those communities. But we also have many students who have only lived in urban areas and for them to have exposure and a glimpse of some of the health issues and health and HealthEquity conditions that we need to address in rural areas gives them an idea of how they can bring that into their practice,” Weston said.
Once completed, Weston says she is also hoping they will be able to take the mobile clinic to places hit with natural disasters as a way to help.
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