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Talking Tough

November 10, 2006 -- Today a Colorado ABC television affiliate ran a good report about an annual middle school forum on alcohol abuse and other issues run by local trauma nurses. Scott Harrison's piece on KRDO (Colorado Springs / Pueblo) highlights a community health initiative that is a good example of nurses trying to prevent some of the serious problems they see by addressing root causes. We commend Mr. Harrison and KRDO for this report.

"Nurses Talk Tough At School" reports that trauma center nurses from Memorial Hospital recently held their 10th annual "Talk Tough" forum at Eagleview Middle School. The piece focuses on the forum's treatment of alcohol abuse and drunk driving, but the nurses also address "domestic violence, grief, suicide, drugs, gangs and the Internet."

The piece stresses that the nurses provide education on preventing alcohol abuse, including the familiar graphic video. The piece relies heavily on input from forum coordinator Kelli Romp.

Romp says families experience alcohol abuse because they don't know the risks, choose to ignore them, or don't believe it will happen to them. She adds holding the event at the middle school underscores the fact that many kids are of middle school age when exposed to alcohol for the first time. Along with the trend toward younger drinkers, Romp says society also should focus on reducing increases in alcohol poisoning and binge drinking. Finally, she advises parents to listen to their kids; know what they do, where they go and who their friends are; and understand what a strong influence peer pressure can be.  

The short piece also includes comment from parent Karen Zimmerman, who attended the forum with her 16-year-old son Darin. Both describe the prevalence of alcohol at parties Darin attends. Darin says he plans to resist the "pressure" to drink, at least while in high school.

This is a helpful example of nurses' focus on prevention and education. It might have included some detail on what the nurses could bring to this discussion that the average person could not. The points ascribed to Ms. Romp are fairly standard ones, but we imagine she and her colleagues are able to give middle schoolers some powerful examples of the causes and effects of alcohol abuse. And of course, nurses are expert at educating patients--and telling potential patients how to avoid becoming patients. The piece might also have spent a little more time on the other critical issues the nurses reportedly discuss at the forum.

We thank Mr. Harrison and KRDO for this piece.

See the story "Nurses Talk Tough At School: Alcohol abuse, drunk driving among issues at forum" on the KRDO website from November 10, 2006.

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