VANCOUVER, Wash.- Twelve family nurse practitioner students from Washington State University Vancouver will be helping the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington staff their Monday and Wednesday morning hours, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. until May 2.

Located in Vancouver’s Jim Parsley Center at 4100 Plomondon St., the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington seeks to provide free, quality basic health care to children and adults who are otherwise unable to access such services.

“The growing number of uninsured patients poses a formidable challenge for current and future educators of nurse practitioners,” said Melody Rasmor, WSU Vancouver clinical assistant professor of nursing.

“With this partnership, nurse practitioners get good training and see first hand the need for medical care among the uninsured in the community,” said Free Clinic Director Marcia Howery. “Also, it can be hard to find volunteers in the daytime, when most patients prefer to be seen.”

The WSU Vancouver nursing program partnered with the free clinic once before, in 2002.

“From that experience, we learned that our students gained insight, understanding and sensitivity to social justice issues impacting health care systems. Many of them voiced intent to provide volunteer care to uninsured persons in the future,” Rasmor said. “Nurse practitioners are critical players in the provision of primary health care and are in a position to influence delivery systems that address the unmet needs of the uninsured.”

The students will be helping in the clinic Monday and Wednesday mornings 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. until May 2.

For more information on the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington, visit http://www.freeclinics.org/ or call 360-313-1390. For more information on the nursing programs at WSU Vancouver, visit http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/programs/nurs/home.html.