Cleveland, OH (NursingSalary.org) – Nursing students from Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University started to implement a major district-wide program to monitor blood pressure levels among students and staff in the Cleveland Municipal School District.
BSN Program Director Marilyn Lotas [photo] is the project coordinator. She secured a grant from the Prentis Foundation to fund the five-year activity.
“We’ve been reporting high rates of obesity and elevated blood pressure for many years,” said Dr. Lotas in an interview for CWRU. “What has been missing is effective intervention. This new Prentiss grant will help us take our students through the whole spectrum of tackling a health issue from defining it, creating a program, and then evaluating its strengths and weaknesses.”
Students are known to have issues with blood pressure and high obesity levels. FPB students have been taking pressure levels in their school since 2002, and values are still high more than eight years after. The entire project is to be put in the hands of third year nursing students—with the assistance of faculty members, they are to design a screening program, offer support and make interventions where necessary.
The project will be of great use for the community, but also for the students. They will gain hands-on experience with planning, organizing, implementing and monitoring a major health care project, which will be of a great help once they graduate and join the workforce.
The planning phase of the project will begin in the spring of 2011. Each group of third year BSN students will have a budget of around $100,000 per year that should go towards screenings and carrying out interventions. Once they graduate, the project is to be passed on to the next generation of third year students.
Elevated blood pressure levels and obesity rates have been common issues for years in Cleveland’s schools but, says Dr. Lotas, what they were missing was a feasible way to actually do something about it. “The Prentis grant is one effort to address the problems.”
Lotas added that they hoped to begin to see changes in these numbers with the help of the new project. The issue is complex and it won’t be easy. However, this is only a beginning.