ATC Community Health Fair offers experience, education

STAFF PHOTO BY LARRY WOOD Aiken Technical College LPN students Brittany Serago, left, and Morgan Fulmer, right, check Shareffa Harris’ blood pressure during the school’s annual Community Health Fair.

GRANITEVILLE — Morgan Fulmer, a first-year LPN student at Aiken Technical College, always wanted to be a nurse, and on Wednesday, she received hands-on experience to move her a little closer to achieving her lifelong goal.

Using the new skills they learned in classes and in the field during clinical rotations, Fulmer and her classmates provided blood pressure checks and gave out information about hypertension to students, faculty and community members who attended ATC’s annual and free Community Health Fair.

“I love to help people,” said Fulmer, an Aiken High graduate. “My aunt is a nurse, and my dad was an EMT. The medical field runs in my family.”

During her clinical classes this semester, Fulmer worked at a nursing home facility in North Augusta, treating mostly elderly patients. The fair gave her the opportunity to work with people of all ages.

“It’s definitely a broader spectrum of people,” Fulmer said.

For first-year LPN student Brittany Serago, who had wanted to become a physicians assistant before deciding on nursing, the fair was about education.

“It’s been neat to educate everyone a little bit more about what their blood pressure numbers mean,” said Serago, also from Aiken, who has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Winthrop University. “That’s what I and some of my other classmates have been telling people today, giving them an idea of what the normal range for blood pressure is so they know where they stand.”

After Fulmer and Serago checked her blood pressure, Shareffa Harris, an ATC employee who works in education and training, said, “It’s a great thing to know your numbers.”

Harris came to the fair not only to get her numbers, but also to support ATC’s students.

“They do such a wonderful job,” she said. “They’re all so informative about different health problems and how to avoid them.”

Sponsored by the college’s Health Sciences Division, the fair also included screenings for cholesterol, glucose and vision; interactive displays from the surgical technology and radiologic programs; and information on mental health and cardiac diets.

Students from ATC’s Allied Health programs – nursing, practical nursing, surgical technician, EMT, pharmacy, radiology and dental assisting – staffed the booths that filled the school’s gymnasium.

“The fair brings awareness to the community about health issues that happen in everyday life,” said LaVara Pierner, a practical nursing instructor in the nursing department, who coordinated the event. “It gives the students more experience. They get that experience in their clinicals, but here, they get to have a little bit more fun. The feedback I get from the students is that they really enjoy putting on the fair.”

A native of Aiken County, Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.