Nursing students teach wellness to persons with mental illness

According to Kennesaw State University Associate Professor of Nursing Mary Ann Camann‚ students learn best by doing. And that’s just what Dr. Camann offers in her mental health nursing class‚ the opportunity for students not just to learn‚ but also to do.

Georgia (Nov 11, 2002) — According to Kennesaw State University Associate Professor of Nursing Mary Ann Camann‚ students learn best by doing. And that’s just what Dr. Camann offers in her mental health nursing class‚ the opportunity for students not just to learn‚ but also to do.



In partnership with Community Friendship Inc.‚ a presidential award−winning‚ nonprofit psychiatric rehabilitation center in Atlanta‚ students perform physical health assessments and teach exercise and nutrition classes for seven weeks each semester at the community center.



As important as the classes and assessments are‚ junior baccalaureate nursing student Anna Butterfield says‚ "Listening is the most important part of what we do." By listening to the concerns of the center’s clients‚ students found they all have much in common — including a need for reminders about what is healthy behavior.



Client concerns about high cholesterol‚ heart problems and weight led to the introduction of exercise and nutrition classes at the center. Since the advent of the classes‚ which saw 110 participants last year‚ 23 of the clients have maintained or lost weight‚ often while taking medication that tends to cause weight gain. "The average person in America gains 10 pounds per year‚" says Camann. "So we view this as a real success."



The exercise classes gave clients Jonathan Phillips and Eugene Ellis the incentive they needed to get moving. They’ve taken what they learned from the KSU students and built an exercise regimen for themselves that includes regular workouts and a recent one−mile walk for charity.



Another client‚ whose life had become sedentary due to the effects of arthritis and obesity‚ learned about how exercise could help her and found a water−aerobics class to join. In addition to easing her arthritis pain and losing weight‚ she found a new group of friends and a reason to get out of the house.



"This class is a learning experience for the students as well as the clients‚" said Camann. "The students learn to treat the whole person and how to manage on−going problems. And because the students work at CFI for seven weeks‚ they get to see results."




 

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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