As an opportunity for students from the North Central Kansas Technical College nursing department to educate the public, the school will host its annual Nursing Community Health Fair on April 16.

The event will mark its seventh year and will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Nation Guard Armory in Hays. The armory is located at 200 Main. The health fair gives students a chance to be out in the community and to educate and show what they are passionate about.

Up to this point, (the students) have been more in the acute care, in the hospital part or the long-term part, said Beryl Dinges, instructor of nursing. Its very important that they look at education for the community, get out there and educate. This allows them to pick a subject that is interesting to them and they develop it.

An instructor at NCK Tech for 22 years, Dinges has seen the nursing department grow in many ways. One instance was the start of the health fair seven years ago, and it has been able to progress and grow with attention through the years.

Its been not only a chance to educate the public, but also for the students to be put into real-life situations in leadership. The students are in charge of putting the health fair together.

Dinges said the event usually draws more than 100 people and has gotten as high as 150. Its a process that has seen growth in attention from the community.

It actually allows them an opportunity to develop a community presentation, Dinges said. Its kind of putting the whole thing together.

The students are given a budget they must follow. They are responsible for inviting guests to help with a presentation. The nursing students send out pamphlets and other information to draw attention. Most of the work that goes into the health fair is done by the students.

Along with raffles the nursing students put together for the guests, there will also be free blood pressure and finger-stick checks. The students also will give presentations at a station, where they are broken up into four clinical groups.

Dinges has each group pick its own health topic to educate the public about. The presentations can deal with any health topic the group wants. Topics can range from many different things. Some of the topics this year will deal with matters such as child safety, cardiovascular disease and immunizations.

Some of these topics are repeats and some arent, Dinges said. Its just what interests the group. You might see immunizations in the past or child safety. I leave it up to them to decide which one they want to do. They have to spend time on it, and I want them to enjoy it.