Beach High School’s Free Health Clinic leaves many grateful

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – Students at Beach High School learn not only to care for patients, but also to run a health clinic with the help of nurses from St. Joseph’s Candler.

The health clinic first opened before the pandemic, then reopened this school year. The students have served 388 patients so far.

“I wouldn’t have known what I wanted to be when I got older.”

Beach High School’s Free Health Clinic opens doors for aspiring nursing students still in high school.

“We give them a realistic view of healthcare and start with some basics. We give them a head start for college,” said Martha White, St. Joseph’s Candler Nurse Practitioner.

Students in the program learn how to draw blood and after thirty sticks they can take a test to be certified in phlebotomy.

Senior Taliyah Jackson got all her sticks in about a month and says this opportunity puts her ahead of other nursing students at the university.

“Because I’m not even a nursing student yet, I’m just a phlebotomy student at my school…because of all this opportunity, it gives us more experience,” said senior Taliyah Jackson at Beach High.

Giving students like Jackson and Cerenity O’Banner experience.

“Telephone techniques, working with patients, different exercises with patients, how to draw blood,” said Cerenity O’Banner, a senior at Beach High.

And they say it feels good to provide the services for free to anyone in the community.

“Some people with insurance, you probably wouldn’t have this opportunity because it’s a free screening for you to take your blood, sugar and cholesterol. Just use it,” O’Banner said.

Patients who came to these rooms and had these screenings say that the free clinic for them helped them change their lifestyle.

“I thought everything was fine because I didn’t feel sick or anything.”

Rhode Pira is diabetic and didn’t realize her A1C was high until she started coming here three months ago.

“I know the health is getting a lot better and usually I can’t even sleep very well at night but when I started changing my life like going to exercise because I want to lower my A1C. So I saw a lot of changes in my life,” said patient Rhode Pira.

The clinic will close for the summer after May 12 and will reopen in August.

Copyright 2022 COMC. All rights reserved.

Christy J. Olson