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Students Share Experiences in Battling Coronavirus

UNC students working in health care

April 30, 2020

With the rapid spread of COVID-19, health care workers have seen major changes to their daily operations, while other organizations are aiming to increase health and diet awareness.

Here, two University of Northern Colorado students share their responses to the coronavirus pandemic and offer ideas that help others.

Top Image (from left to right):Junior Biology student Andrew Fickert working at Bonell Good Samaritan Society. Senior Nursing students Kenzie Stout, Breanna Olson, Casey Skram, Jenny Montes and Sal Lozano in a Greeley Eats Zoom meeting.

Keeping Others Safe

Andrew Fickert, a junior studying Biology with a focus on Pre-Med, works at Bonell Good Samaritan Society (BGSS) as a Certified Nursing Assistant caring for the elderly and disabled.

Normally, Fickert helps people with their daily lives, such as getting out of bed, getting ready and eating. Now, the facility is seeing an increase in security and sanitary procedure training, as well as requiring checkups before starting work. Masks are also being provided to workers in the facility and gloves are being mandated, as usual.

“In my facility, the health care team is responding with isolation and restricting visiting hours,” Fickert said. “Our personal protection equipment (PPE) is under strict lock and key, with daily PPE allowances that are almost always not enough.”

BGSS is also isolating patients to help prevent the spread of the disease.

“The patients are definitely feeling the isolation from their own families,” Fickert said. “The frame of mind in the facility I work in is fairly glum. There are some residents who seem unaffected by it, but most are feeling scared and confused about what is happening.”

Additionally, Fickert is self-isolating himself from his parents and keeps a biohazard bag at home for his clothes.

“Social distancing is huge,” he said. “Just because it isn’t killing the young doesn’t mean it isn’t affecting them. The scarring of the lung tissue is like a smoker’s, and you can carry it to your parents or grandparents. I advise people to be considerate of their surroundings and who they could infect.”

Fickert also encourages others to ask their elderly neighbors if they need help with any supplies due to the higher risk of infection.

Eating Well On a Budget

Senior UNC Nursing students Breanna Olson and Kenzie Stout, with the help of their classmates, have created a project called Greeley Eats, a social-media campaign to help people who are on a budget to make better decisions about their health and diet choices to help prevent future diseases.

The project is part of the students’ Community Assessment assignment in their NURS 405 – Public Health Nursing class. The other students involved are Casey Skram, Jenny Montes, Sal Lozano and Chelsea Newendorp, all of whom are also senior nursing students.

Olson said the students researched issues the community needs help with and found nutrition and overall health to be a major problem. The group then decided that focusing on preventative measures for health issues would be more successful than focusing on treating the actual conditions.

“We started looking at the numbers of health issues in our country and noticed that the rates of certain conditions, like diabetes and heart disease, were higher in lower-income neighborhoods,” Olson said. “As Nursing students, we know that diet has a major impact on overall health, and we attributed diet to the rise in these health problems. The main goal of this project is to educate people, so they can make better decisions to improve their health and prevent these numbers from rising further.”

Greeley Eats features tips for shopping on a budget, healthy and cheap recipes, available community resources, cooking videos made by group members and weekly ads for Greeley stores.

“We decided to create this page in the beginning of the planning phase, but it ended up being the right thing to do with what’s going on in the world right now,” Olson said. “We hope that Greeley Eats reaches as many people as possible and helps them and their family get on a healthier track.”

Find Greeley Eats on:

—Written by Mackenzie Eldred

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