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 Molina Healthcare of California generously provided the kit bags that were used to assemble a staggering 400 CAREKits by Hewlett Packard Enterprise employees as part of a very productive CARE Day. These CAREKits will now be provided to clients at St. Vincent de Paul in Roseville. We would like to thank the group for its time and hard work in putting the kits together. If you would like to find out how you can organize a CARE Day like this, please reach out to HomeAid’s Robin Rau.

 KAISER PERMANENTE NURSE SCHOLARS CARING FOR THEIR COMMUNITY

 

For two Kaiser Permanente Sacramento nurses, the care doesn’t end when their shift does.

Debbie Koster, RN and Lynne Sex, RN, are Kaiser Permanente Nurse Scholars, currently enrolled in the RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program at Samuel Merritt University.

As part of their public health curriculum hours, they are working at two community care sites in Roseville – The Gathering Inn which serves the homeless and the St. Vincent De Paul Society clinic which tends to see people who are uninsured or underinsured and need urgent care or short-term treatment. 

One patient remarked about the care she received. 

“The nurses are always so friendly and so nice. I always feel so comfortable when I come to see them.  They always say, ‘how can we help you’ and it makes me feel good,” said Genoveva Palos, who sought treatment for a finger injury at the St. Vincent DePaul clinic.

Both Koster and Sex said it goes to the heart of why they went into nursing

“I became a nurse to help people. It was not necessarily to treat any specific thing, but to listen to them,” said Koster, who is a hospital department manager at Sacramento Medical Center.

The other location is the clinic at the Gathering Inn in Roseville, which serves those who are homeless.

“I think the thing I love about being here is, I feel like I am making a difference. People come here willingly, they want help, they trust us, you can make a report with them,” said Sex, who works in the emergency department at Sacramento Medical Center. “People come in here for all kinds of different ailments. They may be living in their car, they have asthma, they don’t know where to get albuterol or an inhaler, they can’t afford the ER, they come in here, we write a prescription. They are very appreciative. You leave here thinking wow I really helped someone.” 

It’s an all-volunteer staff at both clinics so the extra help and expertise is appreciated.

“They have done everything. From day 1, they were helping with triage, talking to patients, interviewing, doing most of the work,” said Jan Robinson, a registered nurse herself who serves as the nursing care coordinator at the Gathering Inn clinic. “When we do have down time, they take it upon themselves to look around with a fresh pair of eyes, to see what the clinic is, how is it running, how can we make it more efficient. They have been great at that and it has been a big help to me.”

That includes creating wound supply kits for patients, which are always in big demand and creating signage to let patients know what services are available.

“They bring enthusiasm, knowledge, love of patients to our clinic. They make all our patients feel welcome and valued. They are a wonderful resource to those who have not had access to medical care in the past,” said Tom Stanko, MD, who is a retired Kaiser Permanente Roseville physician and now serves as medical director at both clinic sites. 

One of their more visual and impactful projects was a set of posters designed to educate clinic patients about opioid use and abuse. The bright red poster talk about what opioid addiction is, what you should not do while taking them, and describes the signs and symptoms of an overdose. 

“The patients are not necessarily here to talk about pain medicine or the street use of drugs, but they see these posters and it is impactful,” said Koster. “Education is everything. If they don’t know what to look for, the signs and symptoms, they are not going to be able to react appropriately. They see the posters, they are in the community with friends and family and they may save lives.”

The nurses also worked to get medications from the county to help counteract opioid overdoses.

 

The nurses will soon finish their BSN work. But both say they plan to keep volunteering at the clinics which are each open one day a week to serve those in need in the community. Both sites are recipients of Kaiser Permanente community benefit grants as well.