Nursing students at the Salvation Army Thanksgiving LunchIt was the annual Salvation Army Thanksgiving Lunch at Neal Blaisdell Arena on November 24, with 800 volunteers serving 2000 people in need.  Most of the volunteers served the holiday guests a traditional Thanksgiving meal — mashed potatoes, roasted turkey,cranberries, stuffing, rolls, cooked vegetables, salad and, of course, pumpkin pie.

However, 30 of those volunteers, all members of Chaminade’s Student Nurses Association (SNA), were on a different mission. The student volunteers offered blood pressure screenings, serving more than 150 people before the door to the dining area even opened. Dressed in their Chaminade logo shirts, they shared on healthy lifestyle habits and assisted at the first aid station. Several senior citizens who had high blood pressure were directed to see their primary care physician as soon as possible by the nursing faculty. “I was surprised that many elders were not aware of how to care for their blood pressure,” said Lena Souza, SNA senior student member.

This was the School of Nursing’s second year at this event. Chaminade SNA advisor and assistant professor, Eurina Yujin-Cha Kee, Ph.Dc, RN, MSN, CRRN organized the service project. Last year, the volunteer group was limited to nursing students in Kee’s public health nursing section. Opening the opportunity up to include SNA members allowed for more participation.

Nursing students at the Salvation Army Thanksgiving LunchKee and her students have found this community service to be meaningful. “Serving people in the community is our Chaminade mission and the School of Nursing’s mission,” Kee remarked. “And sharing our love and ‘ohana with people in need is SBA’s community service goal as well.”

Kee added, “I will support this event every year.”

Her students and the guests at next year’s Salvation Army Thanksgiving Lunch will be glad to hear that.