Students from the Selkirk College nursing program will be running a street nursing outreach program in Castlegar between Nov. 18 and Dec. 23.
Two fourth-year nursing students — Jordan Sherstibitoff and Bethany Grutter — have created the program for their school leadership project. Sherstibitoff and Grutter were involved with a street nursing program for their third year practicum and decided they would create a program to continue that work.
The pair worked with vulnerable populations, conducted a COVID-19 study and helped with a drug overdose outreach during their service in Castlegar.
“We really identified a need for outreach in Castlegar,” said Sherstibitoff.
The new nursing outreach will be done by two third-year students and a college instructor.
They will primarily be working with clients whose lives are characterized by instability in housing, extreme poverty, fixed incomes, chronic unemployment and poor nutrition.
The nursing students will provide wound care, hygiene supplies, blood sugar checks, blood pressure checks, vitamins, harm reduction supplies, safe injection kits, mouthpieces, referrals, education and support.
Sherstibitoff and Grutter say they really learned a lot during their time on the streets and they hope to pass some of that knowledge on to other future nurses including learning how to not stigmatize and effectively communicate with vulnerable populations and how to advocate better for them.
They also say the project never could have happened if it were not for the help of the Sandman Inn, St. David’s Thrift Store and the Hospital Auxillary Treasure Shop.
The street nurses will be out in the community on Wednesdays between 8:30 a.m.and 3 p.m.. They will be identifiable by their large backpacks with “outreach nursing” lettering.
If you are in need of assistance and see a street nurse, feel free to approach them and ask for help.