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Release: April 17, 2001

UI nursing student organizes upcoming head-to-toe health screening

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Friday's head-to-toe health screening at the Iowa City-Johnson County Senior Center will be a busy day for University of Iowa student Jenny Castle. That's because Castle, a third-year nursing student from Mason City, is in charge of making sure everything goes smoothly for the twice-a-year event sponsored by the Visiting Nurse Association.

The head-to-toe screening, which will be from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, April 20 at the Senior Center is free and open to all Johnson County residents 55 and older.

Castle, who attended high school in Rockford, Iowa, has spent much of the semester organizing the screening as part of her community health nursing practicum experience. Working under the supervision of Eleanor McClelland, Ph.D., associate professor of nursing at the UI, and Carol Gatfield, the VNA's community program coordinator, Castle reserved space for the event and invited numerous health providers to staff tables devoted to giving screenings for blood pressure, hearing, vision, dental health, depression and mental health, nutrition, cholesterol, blood sugar and other health areas. Providers representing UI Health Care, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Health Iowa and the private sector all will participate.

Other services the screening will provide include information on how to quit smoking from the Johnson County Department of Public Health, posture assessments by a local chiropractor and medication reviews by UI pharmacy students.

"I've learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes work that nurses do," Castle said. "This is something that doesn't necessarily coincide with the public's ideas about what a nurse does."

One innovation Castle implemented for the event is to offer door prizes to those who attend -- and that meant asking area businesses for small items to give away. These will include gift baskets, gift certificates, lotion samples, insulated coffee mugs, car washes and even a free oil change.

"Sometimes a little incentive will help people decide to come and see what we're offering," Castle said.