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San Marcos Nursing Students Care For The Poor In Oceanside

Evening Edition

Above: The Cal State San Marcos School of Nursing has opened its third student-run clinic to serve the poor. KPBS Health Reporter Kenny Goldberg tells us the new site is in Oceanside.

The California State University San Marcos clinic operates out of a refurbished house on Oceanside’s busy South Coast Highway.St. Anne’s Episcopal Church provided it free of charge.

Aired 12/17/13 on KPBS News.

The Cal State University San Marcos School of Nursing has opened its third student-run clinic to serve the poor.

Bishop James Mathes of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, said the clinic fits perfectly with the church’s mission.

“To bring hope and healing to those in need, and that’s what we’re doing here, through the gifts of healing that these nursing students bring and those who supervise them," Mathes said.

Most of the clinic’s equipment has been donated. The exam tables were found in someone’s garage. Nursing students scrubbed and repaired them.

CSU San Marcos Chief Nursing Instructor Mary Baker said this clinic provides valuable experience for her students. After all, there’s only so much you can teach them at school, she said.

“We can educate them in the classroom, but to really learn a skill of how to do an EKG, or how to do a urinalysis, they actually do that here," Baker said.

Nursing students run the show, from managing the clinic to performing physical exams.

Newly minted nursing school graduate Jenna Wallace has worked in the school’s Ocean Beach clinics. She said treating the poor and the homeless is very rewarding.

“The one thing that I have noticed, is that there’s a sense of real gratitude among our patients, and there is a great need of care, and I’m really fortunate to have been a part of this,” Wallace said.

The clinic will be open on Thursdays from 1 to 7 p.m. Once the word gets out, it will probably be plenty busy: In Oceanside, a city of about 170,000, an estimated 18,000 people live below the federal poverty level.

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