This post is written by MEPN students and guest Writers: Maile Cabugao, Adilene Esquivias, Karen Kriger, Nneoma Njoku, Hannah Penney, Amarachi Uchenna
What is Stand Down?
On the weekend of June 29-July 1st, USD nursing students had the opportunity to take part in the yearly national Stand Down event catered to veterans of San Diego, hosted by the Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) . Throughout the weekend, numerous services such as housing, legal aid, medical treatment, massage therapy, and acupuncture were provided at no cost to the veterans who have served our country. A wide array of volunteers from various locations throughout the nation were present at the event. With the veteran population being underserved, it was rewarding having the opportunity and honor to give back.
What did we do at Stand Down?
We were given an opportunity to work in the medical tent with different medical professionals. We worked with doctors, registered nurses, dermatologists, podiatrists, laboratory scientists and pharmacists. From initial screening, patients were directed to triage. At triage, patients were further referred to specific clinicians based on their chief complaints. Veterans received adequate care from all teams of health professionals. They were then accompanied to discharge area. Most of the patients needed vaccinations and medications refilled. For patients who were not able to receive a specific treatment for more complex conditions, they were given referral for further treatment outside of Stand Down. Throughout the day we made rounds with the medical backpacks, to all tents in case of emergency. We also provided education for oral hygiene and foot care. All in all, we worked alongside these professionals to provide a continuum of care to our veterans. This was an honor.
How we felt/reflection:
Many of us have completed a clinical rotation at the VA Healthcare System or Navy Medical Center. It felt rewarding to be able to serve the veterans again. It is always shocking to see how many veterans there are who are homeless, despite all that they have given to protect our country. Stand Down offered us an opportunity to spend time with and give back to the men and women who have already given so much for us and our country. It was great to be able to talk with the veterans and hear their different stories. Although Stand Down offers a variety of necessary services to this population, we felt that this event can only do so much because it is only three days long. Upon reflecting with our group after the event, we realized that we need to become advocates for our veterans so that they can receive the care that they so desperately deserve all year round.
Special thanks to Dr Lyn Puhek and Professor Laura Gilbert for mentoring us during this phenomenal experience.