In 2006, North East Wisconsin (NEW) Community Clinic, located in Green Bay, approached Bellin College to develop a three-way partnership to provide free healthcare to children at two Encompass Early Education Child Care centers. Both sites were purposefully built in low-income neighborhoods to provide families living in poverty with access to childcare. Encompass is a not-for-profit organization, which has been providing childcare to children since 1919 and has seven daycare sites in Brown County.
Bellin College Pediatric Health Centers were established as part of the partnership to provide free healthcare services to the children at both Encompass centers. For more than 11 years, Ms. Lynn Murphy, assistant professor of nursing at Bellin College, has been going to each center two times per week to provide well and ill healthcare visits free of charge. NEW Community Clinic provides the support staff, administration, and supplies needed to run the clinic. Bellin College provides the nurse practitioner and the hours as well as the exposure for students to see the unique clinic site.
“The goal of the partnership is to provide the families with high financial need access to healthcare that is free, easily accessible, and a resource for health-related concerns,” explains Ms. Murphy.
Throughout the academic year, Ms. Murphy is joined by Bellin College senior nursing students for shadowing and clinical hours. Ms. Murphy invites students to the sites to give them exposure to children in different age groups ranging from six weeks to 12 years of age. Students get to assess children and observe Murphy’s role as a pediatric nurse practitioner. Sometimes they will assist with teaching projects such as the cardiac system, nutrition, risks of smoking, and dental care. Exposing students to the Bellin College Pediatric Clinic at Encompass provides them with not only nursing experience, but also what it means to serve their community.