This past summer, I interned at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) on the Opioid and Substance Abuse Prevention Team. I applied on a whim because I wanted to do something nursing-related but also something that would expand my view of nursing. I was always told that nursing was expansive far beyond just a hospital setting, but I knew I needed to experience this for myself.
About a month into my internship, I was taking my first visit to Prevention Point Philadelphia with the PDPH team. Prevention Point is a private nonprofit organization providing harm reduction services to Philadelphia and the surrounding area. I was nervous. Growing up in the Philadelphia area, you hear almost exclusively negative things about the Kensington area— an area hit particularly hard by the opioid crisis. But what I found, was a resilient community.
I had the privilege of sitting in on a focus group of community members facing substance abuse and I got to hear firsthand their needs and dreams for their community. At the end of the group, my team was packing up to return to our office in Center City. My boss had given me some Narcan (a life-saving drug that reverses an opioid overdose) and instructed me to see if anyone in the group needed any. I was going around the circle offering Narcan when a woman in her 30s or 40s stopped me. She had lots of questions about Narcan and health in general, and I had the opportunity to do some quick teaching. We discussed the logistics of Narcan administration, but also basic health promotion. We chatted for a few minutes about things such as nutrition, skin infections, hydration— truly knowledge that people take for granted. It was at this moment that I knew nursing was powerful.
Even as a student, I am in a position to truly help people. Lots of people think nursing is at the bedside, but it is so much more; it’s at the bedside, a church basement, the end of the street. Nursing is where there are people, and it is our job to reach these people.
I feel so much pride to learn about a profession that can enact so much change. It is truly a privilege to be welcomed into the most vulnerable part of someone’s life and to be trusted to make a difference.
After this internship, I planned the first public Narcan training at Penn Nursing. The PDPH came to Fagin Hall and trained over 100 students, staff, and faculty on how to recognize an overdose and take steps to reverse it.
– Lindsay Krott, Nu’21
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing