Nurse channels student activism

Anyone who missed getting their cholesterol screened at the CUB in September will have another chance in February.

The one-day screening last fall drew so much interest, people had to be turned away.

“We had no idea it was going to be so popular,” said Marsha C. Turnbull, a registered nurse at WSU Health and Wellness. “We ran out of materials.”

The cholesterol screening is open to faculty, staff and students and gives students on the Cougar Health Awareness Team practice working with live patients.

Turnbull created the CHAT in the fall of 2000 to harness the enthusiasm she saw in the students who were doing HIV peer counseling.

“I felt like there were a lot of students who were very motivated and who wanted to help raise awareness about other health issues besides HIV and AIDS,” Turnbull said.

Pharmacy students make up the majority of the CHAT membership, but it is open to any interested WSU student, Turnbull said. It is growing, with 49 members, up from 29 last spring. Included in the group are a sports management major, a couple of psychology majors and a couple of pre-med students, she said.

CHAT members and other pharmacy students are responsible for the annual flu shot campaign on campus, known as Operation Immunization.

The number of faculty, staff and students vaccinated by the students has risen dramatically since the fall of 2001, when they gave about 200 flu shots. In the fall of 2003, the students gave 2,000 flu shots on the Pullman campus.

Pharmacy students receive two weeks of immunization training in a laboratory, including giving each other shots with sterile saline, before they decide whether to participate in Operation Immunization, which is extra curricular and leads to a certification from the Washington State Pharmacy Association. Students pursuing the certificate must take five hours of additional training, pass a written exam, and give at least 10 vaccinations during Operation Immunization.

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