Thank you to the wonderful volunteers from the UCSF Masters Entry Nursing Program for helping the participants at MASC!
The BOSS mission statement says, “The mission of BOSS is to help homeless, poor, and disabled people achieve health and self-sufficiency, and to fight against the root causes of poverty and homelessness.”In an effort to connect participants to services and help them “achieve health”, the BOSS Multi Agency Service Center (MASC) has an ongoing program working with Nursing students from UCSF.
The UCSF Masters Entry Nursing Program –https://nursing.ucsf.edu/programs/masters-entry-program-nursing-mepn- is currently headed up by UCSF Clinical Instructor and Doctoral Candidate, Sahar Nouredini. These Nursing students, who are in their Public Health Rotation, come to the MASC once a week to provide blood work, basic health screenings, and workshops to our community.
Recently, they were providing blood pressure clinics to check blood pressure levels, as well as discuss the causes and effects of high blood pressure. So often however, these clinical interactions lead from simple blood pressure check-ups to numerous other health related issues including referrals to local clinics and advice about finding, seeing, and talking to a doctor.
Collete Warden, from the Fall 2013 Semester, was instrumental in setting up Hep-C screening and treatment with the local Oasis Clinic –https://www.oasiscliniconline.org. Through this program we discovered that 60% of our clients who received Hep-C testing had been exposed to the virus and were at risk of contracting and spreading this deadly disease.
The UCSF MENP program spent time connecting clients to clinics for wound-care, a great issue for homeless individuals as open wounds leave people vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections that can become life-threatening. This last year there were several close calls with clients in need of serious medical attention, one requiring a call to 911.
Many of the Nursing students are passionate about working with our community, and this hands-on experience is invaluable. It gives the students an opportunity to really work with the population and understand not just the individual issues associated with being homeless, but the systemic issues that hinder health.
Sahar says that she has learned so much for our clients, that, “they are excellent teachers.”The Nursing students learn about the underlying issues and that housing, or the lack thereof, is a large barrier to sustainable health. For the homeless there are greater life issues at play with all forms of treatment. She pointed out that certain prescription drugs have side effects such as sleepiness or frequent urination, both can be serious issues for someone without a home.
This Masters program is an ongoing program that Sahar has kindly been managing. We hope that she will return in the Fall with a new group of Nursing students, but Sahar is working on her Doctorate and may need to step away to focus on her studies. This, we understand, and wish her luck and thank her, her program, her school, and her students for all that they have done for BOSS and our community.
Below are some thoughtful quotes from students who participated this last school year:
“The connections I made with the clients at MASC has been life changing. I appreciated their openness and was humbled by their gratitude.” – Vanessa Puschendorf, Spring 2014
“My time at MASC taught me the importance of the individual narrative and the power of listening as a form of healthcare and healing. The clients at MASC highlighted that we are all united by our desire to be heard and known. Though there was little we could do for the patients medically as nursing students, we were able to practice this form of healthcare: assuming nothing, asking everything, and allowing the individual to tell us who they are.” – Collete Warden, Fall 2013
“The conversations, the client stories, the unassuming smiles, the deep appreciation and gratitude the clients shared with me each day are the memories I will take from my time at MASC. I learned so much from their kind, gentle, trusting words and questions. It was a truly meaningful experience.” – Ashley King, Spring 2014