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At-Risk 2012

At-risk populations are found in all societies, including our own Utah County community. At-risk populations are groups of individuals that are more vulnerable to infectious diseases, have special needs regarding health care and/or are at a high risk for health disparity. 

We visited the following facilities serving at-risk populations

  • Children's Justice Center
  • Dan Peterson School
  • Oakridge School
  • Utah County Jail
  • Utah County Walk-In Volunteer Clinic
  • UVRMC Rehabilitation Unit
  • UVRMC Diabetes Management Clinic
  • Wasatch Mental Health
  • Food and Care Coalition

Student Reflections:

"I’ve become less judgmental of the at-risk population, especially the working poor and those who are involved in criminal behaviors.  I always thought that it was a lifestyle choice.  I thought that people just need to make good decisions their whole lives about education, work, their spending/saving habits,  and preparing for the future.  I have since realized that there are many who work hard but can’t seem to get ahead.  There are also those who don’t know how to get out of the life that they are leading, whether it is due to addictions or because they don’t know any other lifestyle or how to seek out different environments.  This has impacted my current and future nursing practice because I’ve become more compassionate and understanding, and I’ve realized the great need there is to work to serve and empower these people."     -- Melanie 

"My attitudes have definitely changed toward at-risk populations as a result of these clinical experiences.  Professionally, I learned that nurses are in a particularly good position to assist those who are at risk in obtaining adequate health care, in learning about their illnesses or risk factors for disease, and in advocating for social programs and policies to help those whose voice is limited due to poverty, lack of education, debilitating chronic illness, vulnerability, or mental retardation. Spiritually, my attitudes towards the populations I served changed because I began to see the patients I helped care for as  children of God needing compassionate and caring people  to help them progress physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I enjoyed reaching out to the disabled children at the Dan Peterson School, many of whom could not express themselves, and smiling at them, talking to them, and holding their hands.  I loved meeting with the women in the prison and feeling of  their desire to change and be liberated  from their current situation. Personally, I was surprised to see that many of the struggles facing people today are the  same across cultures and socioeconomic levels .  At the diabetic clinic I could empathize with the parents who wanted their children to take responsibility for their own well-being but who didn’t always provide the healthiest snacks.   I could sense that the women at the prison were not too different from me  except for possibly one bad decision or unfortunate situation."     -- Sarah

"This experience was a wake-up call to me, and I hope that I am able to take that feeling with me. There is a natural tendency within the culture of the jail  to treat those in jail as if they were still about to commit a crime , and I had adopted that point of view before even stepping in the doors. My nurse’s response really  awakened me to my own cultural incompetence , and really what cultural competence involves. From my nurse’s point of view, competence involved  seeing each patient as someone you advocate for , and the best way is to see him or her as Heavenly Father would, and care for them as if you were caring for your own child.  The last thing these people in jail needed was one more person defining them for what they have done, and not for who they want to be . I want to be able to treat those I care for in the future with the best of care, regardless of what they have done."     -- Regan

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