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UTHSC nursing students teach children about safety (12-11-00)

Fifth-graders at Artemisia Bowden Elementary School on 515 Willow Street received an early Christmas gift from some University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio nursing students – the gift of safety education. Members of the Mary Mahoney Nursing Students’ Association reminded the children of how important a role they can play in the safety of their family and friends.

“Has anyone ever choked or seen someone else choke?” asked Gertrude James, president of the Mary Mahoney Nursing Students’ Association, as she spoke to the crowd of 70 children. After several hands went up, James and fellow association member, Mark A. Blake, demonstrated how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on someone who is choking.

“This is one of the things you can do to help someone who is choking,” James told the children. “You can save a person’s life.”

This was one of four topics covered in the safety presentation the nursing students made at Bowden on Dec. 1. Other topics included cuts and burns, fire safety and poisons. Firefighters from the San Antonio Fire Department’s Station No. 5, also attended and brought a fire truck on campus to help the nursing students reinforce their message about the importance of fire safety.

This is the second year in a row that the Mary Mahoney Nursing Students’ Association has made a presentation at Bowden Elementary.

“Having the Health Science Center nursing students come to our school each year is great,” said Willie Mae Taylor, Bowden principal. “They serve as role models who help expose the children to interesting and educational topics. This gives our students new knowledge and self-esteem. They [nursing students] encourage our students to set their sights on going to college and to consider the nursing profession,” she said.

Anthia Murray, clinical instructor of family nursing care and faculty adviser to the Mary Mahoney Nursing Students’ Association, said both the children and the nursing students learn from the experience.

“The nursing students learn what it would be like to work as a school nurse or as a community-health nurse,” she said. “They realize that they don’t necessarily have to work in a hospital setting. Other career options are available to them.”

Eleven-year-old Fany Zepeda said the nursing students made learning fun for her and her classmates.

“Sometimes kids don’t know about safety, or they think learning about it is boring. But they [nursing students] made learning about it fun,” she said. “I want to go to college and become a nurse in a nursing home because right now I like helping my grandma and grandpa.”

At the end of their talk, the nursing students presented Bowden faculty and students with a 50-piece first aid kit and a fire safety video.

The Mary Mahoney Nursing Students’ Association, which has been in existence for 20 years, was established in honor of Mary Mahoney, the first African-American professional nurse in the United States. The purpose of the organization is to foster an academic environment that will enhance the recruitment and retention of African-American students into school and into the nursing profession.

Contact: Natalie Gutierrez