A Pilot Interprofessional Education and Practice Project With Migrant Farm Workers

Saturday, 29 July 2017: 8:30 AM

Lora R. Shelton, DNP1
Cynthia G. Cortes, DrPH, MSN2
Andrea W. Collins, DNP1
(1)Family Nurse Practitioner Department, Samford University, Birmingham, AL, USA
(2)Graduate Nursing, Samford University, Birmingham, AL, USA

A Pilot Interprofessional Education and Practice Project with Migrant Farm Workers

Purpose: Annually, hundreds of migrant farm workers and their families migrate to the United States to harvest crops on family-owned farms. This population is plagued with recurring health conditions and chronic diseases (Nicholas, Stein, & Wold, 2014). Since few receive regular care, treatable conditions can become acute; resulting in costly emergency room visits or hospital stays. The Migrant Farm Worker Project was developed by nurse practitioners at a College of Health Sciences in the Southeastern United States. The project provided opportunities for faculty and students from nursing, communication sciences and disorders, and nutrition to provide medical screenings and education for Hispanic migrant farm workers.

ROL: The hardships of life of the migrant farm worker result in unique challenges to the physical and mental health of these individuals, and create significant barriers to quality health care (Walsh & Schub, 2013). Most do not earn enough to afford health care and are ineligible for existing community programs (Galameau, 2013). Many suffer from the same chronic health problems so prevalent in the Hispanic population such as diabetes, skin, respiratory, musculoskeletal and numerous eye and vision problems (Bauer & Kantayya, 2010).

Summary of the Innovation: After the faculty met with stakeholders to determine the needs of the community, a variety of opportunities were provided for the migrant farm worker population over an intensive three day period including: physical exams, hearing screening, body mass index, blood pressure screening, and nutrition education for K-8th grade students at a local migrant school; medical care provided at convenient locations for farm workers at the end of the work day; women’s health services and HIV testing provided via a mobile clinic van; physical exams performed at the local East Coast Migrant Head Start Center for children 6 weeks to 5 years; health promotion and education provided and printed material distributed. Literacy education was provided to Head Start teachers and literacy materials were provided for parents.

Results: Through this pilot project data were gathered on number of screenings, screening results, referrals, and unmet community needs. At the migrant school, 88 children (K-8th grade) were provided hearing screenings, nutrition education, physical exams, and health screenings. Physical exams were performed on 32 children (6 weeks-5years) at the East Coast Migrant Head Start Center. Physical exams, health screenings, and women’s healthcare services were provided to 43 adults via mobile medical clinics offered in convenient locations for the migrant farm worker.

Implications for Practice: Interprofessional teams are qualified to provide healthcare services to underserved and vulnerable populations such as migrant farm workers. Nurse practitioners can be leaders in innovative methods of healthcare which can lead to greater access to care and healthier populations.  Implementing interprofessional education activities allows students to learn to work together across disciplines, leading to improved patient outcomes in future clinical practice (Luque & Castañeda, 2013).

Keywords: migrant farm worker, health promotion, interprofessional education