SCC nursing program receives beneficial grant

The nursing program at Sampson Community College has earned a grant that will allow nursing students to work with farmworkers across the county.

As Sampson County has the highest number of migrant and seasonal farmworkers in all of North Carolina, the most recent data (2013) indicates there are an estimated 6,876 agricultural workers in the county.

This includes migrants, seasonal farmworkers, and H2A workers (workers with temporary visas through the US Department of Labor). Sampson Community College is always seeking innovative ways to help educate students and prepare for work in the community and is honored to be a recipient of an Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Clinical Site Developmental Grant.

The Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program enhances access to high quality, culturally competent health care through academic-community partnerships to ultimately improve the distribution, diversity, and supply of the primary care health professions workforce who serve in rural and underserved health care delivery sites. The AHEC Program awardees subcontract with community-based AHEC centers in one or more regions of a state. Specific to this award, the Clinical Site Development grant focuses on at risk populations in rural and underserved communities.

“We are excited of the value this grant will bring as it benefits the students by allowing them a unique cultural experience to include health promotion,” Laura Gray, SCC Nursing Instructor and Grant Administrator, said. “It offers them another avenue to obtain clinical experience in a non-traditional setting and will allow them to see firsthand some of the health disparities and barriers of access to care. This partnership should also help expand the outreach efforts for our partners. Additionally, the farmworkers would benefit by having an access to healthcare workers. They also will be provided health promotion education to include options and ways to access healthcare. Screenings for diabetes and hypertension will be some of the basic assessments provided by this effort.”

In collaboration, the nursing faculty as a whole discussed different avenues in order to meet guidelines of the grant. The team decided to focus on seasonal farmworkers with the leadership of Gray as the grant author and administration as she initiated steps to establish the needed partnerships.

“I am so proud of Laura Gray and our nursing faculty for having the vision to see a need in our community and developing a grant proposal that will provide an opportunity for our nursing students to directly support this need during their clinical experience,” Dr. Paul Hutchins, President of Sampson Community College, said. “It is an honor for our nursing program to receive the Clinical Site Development Grant award.”

SCC is honored to partner with CommWell Health in Newton Grove, N.C. Farmworkers Project in Benson, and Farmworker Health Program at Pender County Health Department with the goal to assess and improve the health and access to care for migrant farmworkers in our community. This in turn, will improve the overall health of the entire community.

“Additionally, we also want to offer an eye opening cultural experience outside of the traditional hospital clinical setting for our nursing students,” Gray added. “It will require them to use their critical thinking skills and learn how to tap into local community resources.”

According to Wanda Capps, SCC Division Chair of Health Program, the grant offers a unique clinical opportunity for nursing students.

“Our grant was the only one funded in our region and the experience will give students real insight into the life of farmworkers as well as the healthcare barriers and health alterations they face,” she said. “In turn, the experience will impact the student’s ability to provide compassionate healthcare in a facility upon graduation. I am extremely proud to say this grant was the favorite one submitted and has received accolades for its innovation. The clinical begins August 23 and we have already been invited to present in Greensboro at the Academic Progression meeting for the Deans and Directors of all nursing programs in North Carolina.”

For more information about the health programs at Sampson Community College, visit or call 910-592-8081.

The nursing program at Sampson Community College has earned a grant that will allow nursing students to work with farmworkers across the county. nursing program at Sampson Community College has earned a grant that will allow nursing students to work with farmworkers across the county.
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