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Creston - Belknap

Academics / Departments & Programs / Nursing / Student Experience / Community Nursing / Creston-Belknap

Long-term partnership

Calvin nursing students have had the privilege of working with the Creston and Belknap neighborhoods for many years now. By partnering with one another, the Creston-Belknap neighborhoods and Calvin nursing department aim to promote the health of the neighborhood residents and provide community-based experiences for students.

Calvin nursing students completed a random door-to-door survey of Creston and Belknap residents in the springs of 2004, 2011, and 2018.  Results from the 2018 survey are currently being analyzed.

Survey results

Here are some of the findings from the 2011 survey:

  • Fifty-one percent of households have at least one person who smokes.
  • Thirty-six percent of households have at least one person with hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Thirty-six percent of participants state that the lack of health insurance prevents them from receiving the health care that they need.
  • Twenty-two percent of participants in the survey state that they have had to choose between paying for items like food, rent, and buying medical care.
  • Thirty-six percent agree their lack of health insurance prevents them from receiving the health care they need.
  • Two percent of participants in the survey sometimes or often do not get the medications prescribed for them.

From the initial data in 2004, a neighborhood strategic plan was established, and it's updated yearly.  First-semester junior students participate in activities within the strategic plan. They teach health-related topics to students age five through 18, do blood pressure and blood sugar screenings, and work with neighborhood clinic nurses. Junior students also meet with a resident of the neighborhood to promote the individual’s health.

Second-semester senior students assist in ongoing neighborhood assessment and review of the strategic plan. Senior students use a public health model to plan, publicize, and present the annual Palmer (elementary school) Health Fair. A third major activity for the senior-level students is participation in the Community Health Worker (CHW) Program. A lay CHW is paired with two nursing students to create a CHW team. Each team identifies an area to meet with residents, finds out where residents gather, or go door-to-door talking to residents about their health. For example, some residents go to Supper House, an outreach of North End Community Ministry (NECM), where residents can be served a free hot meal every Thursday evening. The most frequent resident concerns are access to health care, such as dental care, available health clinics, health insurance programs, and prescription assistance programs.

Maintaining a presence in the Creston-Belknap neighborhoods serves a two-fold purpose for the Calvin community: We are able to show to others the compassion that Christ displays to each of us, and also learn valuable lessons from those whose experiences differ from our own.

Project Neighborhood

In addition to working in the Creston-Belknap neighborhood, nursing students now have the opportunity to live in the neighborhood. Students can stay at one of the two Calvin University Project Neighborhood Homes:

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