Nurses needed

Published 10:06 pm Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Western Tidewater Free Clinic is one of the most needed community resources in this region, and it is desperate for some help.

The clinic provides health care access for residents of Suffolk, Franklin, Isle of Wight County and Southampton County who are between 19 and 64, have no health insurance and make less than twice the federal poverty level.

Simply put, the clinic helps those among us who are most in need — people who otherwise would have nowhere to go besides the emergency room for their basic health care.

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Many of the clinic’s patients are employed, often at more than one part-time job. But they have no health insurance because their jobs don’t offer it and because they cannot afford to buy it on their own.

Many of the clinic’s patients are struggling with more than one chronic condition. Many of these conditions can be well controlled with a combination of education, lifestyle changes and treatment. And that requires health care professionals committed to helping their patients live better lives.

Clinic officials said this week that they are desperate for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified medical assistants to volunteer their time at the clinic.

Nurses at the clinic are on the front lines of treating and educating patients. They triage patients’ concerns when they arrive at the clinic, take medical histories for new patients, educate patients about the medications they are on and teach patients about what they can do to take charge of their own health.

The clinic’s work helps keep area emergency departments free for real emergencies. It prevents patients’ health problems from worsening until they become emergencies. It helps people live longer and better. Perhaps most importantly, it shows this community values all of its citizens, regardless of whether they can afford to pay for health care.

We urge all nurses in the community to give serious consideration to volunteering at the free clinic. It will likely be even more rewarding for you than for the clinic.