Monarch placement adds depth to MEPN experience

written by guest writers and 2nd year MEPNs- Dena Bisgaier, Augustus Leveque-Eichhorn, Jacquelyn Gaynor, Kelly Huerta, Arielle Sima , Mariah Winters, and Samantha Joy Zamora 

During the summer and fall semesters of the second year in the MEPN program, USD nursing students have the opportunity to work with under-served communities around San Diego.  This clinical rotation is centered around learning family and community health nursing.  The Monarch School is a public school serving homeless youth in the Barrio Logan neighborhood here in San Diego.  One of the 2nd year MEPN clinical groups is stationed at The Monarch School once per week from June thru December. Here is a glimpse into what we have been up to:

It has been such a joy to be assigned to Monarch for the past two semesters. Our clinical group has really been able to immerse ourselves in the Monarch community. We have been fortunate enough to participate in the school’s community engagement events such as their open house, flu clinic, and dental clinic.  We also have had the opportunity to implement our own health education lesson plans for kindergarten through third grade. We have been able to deepen our understanding of the homeless community in San Diego through partnering with Serving Seniors and Father Joe’s to serve hot meals to the homeless community. Some of our Monarch students reside at Father Joe’s, a nearby organization that helps prevent homelessness and provides resources for residents to find housing and employment.  

Alongside serving the community, we are also greatly involved in the classrooms at Monarch where we tutor students and create special bonds. By getting to know each student, we learn about their lives and we see how each of their living situations has impacted them. Many students struggle with their academics due to what they are facing outside of the school environment.  However, every student we encounter has the drive and capability to do great things. We, as nursing students, help facilitate learning by building a positive and trusting relationship with the students at Monarch, and encourage them to thrive in their academic endeavors. 

Below are a few images documenting our experience. We hope you enjoy reading about our experience as much as we enjoy our time at Monarch.



2nd Year MEPN Students Dena Bisgaier and Mariah Winters
teaching a health education class to 2nd graders at Monarch.

On this day Dena and Mariah presented their lesson plan to the second grade class. The focus of their lesson plan was on personal hygiene, the amount of sugar content in common drinks, the importance of drinking water and eating healthy. 


Volunteering at Father Joe’s Villages, serving San Diegans experiencing homelessness.
From left:  Augustus Leveque-Eichhorn, Dena Bisgaier, Arielle Sima, Mariah Winters, Samantha Joy Zamora, Jacquelyn Gaynor and Kelly Huerta.

On this day we served breakfast and prepared lunch for the homeless community at Father’s Joe’s Village. 


Monarch’s “Back to School Night”, providing health education to 
students and their families on topics such as sugar content in drinks, 
vaping and blood pressure.
2nd Year MENP students pictured:  Dena Bisgaier and Arielle Sima.

On this day we set up health education booths on Monarch’s “Back to School Night”, to educate students and their families on topics such as Vaping, Blood Pressure, and Sugar Content. 


Filling grocery bags for Monarch School’s “Back to School Night”, with donated 
items from local businesses.
From Left:  Arielle Sima, Mariah Winters, Samantha Joy Zamora, Kelly Huerta, 
Jacquelyn Gaynor and Dena Bisgaier.

In preparation for “Back to School Night” our clinical group assembled grocery bags of donated food and toiletry items.  The grocery bags were used as an incentive for Monarch students and their families get a flu shot. Overall, the day was a success and we ended up assembling over 100 grocery bags and over 100 flu shots were administered.


From Left:  Kelly Huerta, Augustus Leveque-Eichhorn, Jacquelyn Gaynor, 
Dena Bisgaier, Professor Scott Teerlink, Mariah Winters, Arielle Sima and
Samantha Joy Zamora.

As we continue to teach and grow as leaders in nursing, we are humbled at what the communities that we serve can teach us in return.  This clinical experience reminds us that there are many factors influencing patient health, some factors stemming from the environment and the community in which the patient lives.  We must work to strengthen our understanding of creating healthier communities, and in turn, we can influence environments for better patient outcomes.  

This entry was posted in Class of 2020, community involvement, Guest Writer, Hahn School of Nursing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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