By Addy Hatch, College of Nursing
Nearly 100 people and 125 dogs and cats visited a new clinic offering health care to homeless and low-income people and their pets Friday, on the campus of Washington State University Spokane.
Students and faculty from the WSU College of Nursing and WSU College of Veterinary Medicine provided both people and pets with vaccinations, health screenings, and simple treatments during the five-hour clinic.
The event, about a year in the making, was considered a big success by organizers Dr. Gail Oneal, an assistant professor in the College of Nursing, and Dr. Raelynn Farnsworth, clinical assistant professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine in Pullman.
“It was more than I could have hoped for,” Oneal said. “I knew there was a need and thought we’d be successful if even 15 to 20 pets and people showed up, but this turnout was impressive. It shows that when the College of Nursing and the College of Veterinary Medicine partner together, we can truly fill a void in our community.”
Said Farnsworth, “This joint people and pets clinic was well received. This opportunity working with WSU Nursing not only gave our veterinary students valuable experience caring for a large population of underserved animals, but also taught students the importance of thoughtful communication and provided further training in vaccine protocols. We look forward to partnering with the WSU College of Nursing on this effort again.”
The College of Veterinary Medicine sent eight fourth-year veterinary students, two vet techs, and two Doctors of Veterinary Medicine from Pullman for the clinic. The College of Nursing had 10 nursing students and three faculty members on site, plus nursing student ambassadors who worked in the reception area greeting clients and weighing animals. The event was held at the WSU Veterinary Specialty Teaching Clinic, at 218 E. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Financial support was provided by the Denice Murphy Community Nursing Endowment at the WSU College of Nursing. Students, faculty, and staff at WSU Spokane donated pet supplies like food, collars, leashes, and treats that were distributed to clients at the end of their visit. Human participants were offered warm clothing and personal care items.
Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel of the College of Nursing said she and Dean Bryan Slinker of the College of Veterinary Medicine are committed to repeating the Healthy People + Healthy Pets event.
Said Griffin-Sobel, “We had an outstanding turnout for this inaugural event, which demonstrated what a significant need exists in our community for this kind of service. Client after client told me how grateful they were to us for providing health care to their animals and themselves, since they did not have the resources to secure it for themselves. Our students and the veterinary students worked well together assessing the four-legged clients as well as their owners, giving injections, doing health teaching and providing counseling on preventive care. To be able to offer a clinic such as this is the epitome of service learning and is exactly what our strategic plan aims to do.”