National Nurses Week: UH student nurses provide free health care at clinic near Midtown

The school just received a $20 million gift to boost the next generation of nurses at a time when nearly a third of them nationwide say they plan to leave the profession.

HOUSTON – This is National Nurses Week, and the University of Houston nursing students are a perfect example of the 2023 theme: “Nurses Make a Difference: Anytime, Anywhere, Anytime.”

UH students Andy and Barbara Gessner College of Nursing provide free health care at a clinic near the Museum District twice a week.

“I think it was God-directed for me to be here,” one student told us. “Some of them have no insurance.”

When: Monday and Thursday from 9:00 to 14:00 (closed on public holidays)

As: Call for appointments: 832-842-8203

The UH Clinic’s goal is to impact health inequalities in Houston while providing valuable experience for nursing students.

“At times, it is difficult to access recommended routine health care because the people seeking it have no permanent address or means of transportation, and most importantly, a primary health care provider,” explains the clinic’s website.

Many of his patients are homeless and the goal is to cure them before they end up in the emergency room or worse.

“Because of many different reasons, they don’t go anywhere unless they are dying,” said Dr Shainy Vharghese. “Here we are bringing them the cure.”

The clinic is located near the METRORail line for people who have no means of transport. It’s inside a building that also houses the Emergency Relief Coalition’s Food and Clothing Distribution Center, so many of its patients are EAC clients.

The clinic works in partnership with nearby St. Paul United Methodist Church.

$20 million gift

The UH School of Nursing was recently renamed in honor of UH alumnus Andy Gessner and his wife Barbara. The couple donated $20 million to boost the next generation of nurses at a time when nearly a third of them nationwide say they plan to leave the profession.

The donation will be used to fund scholarships and fellowships and to strengthen nursing education and research.

“We believe in nurses and need more of them right now,” said Andy Gessner. “We are all going to need a nurse at some point in our lives, and there just isn’t enough workforce or education for the future.”

“The silver tsunami is coming,” said Barbara Gessner. “We will certainly need more nurses as the population ages, so the medical profession will be challenged. It has always been an honorable profession and we believe in the tender and compassionate care that nurses provide.”

The couple said the gift was inspired by their late mothers, Gertrude Smith Gessner and Mildred Roberson Pottenger, both nurses who dedicated their lives to providing compassionate health care.

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