Four nurses with La Esperanza Clinic’s first ultrasound machine, which was purchased by BayCare’s Faith Community Nursing program with grant funds from TD Charitable Foundation.

La Esperanza Clinic in Wimauma, which provides free health care and disease-prevention services for low-income residents without employer-provided health insurance, recently received its first ultrasound machine. La Esperanza, which translates to “The Hope” in English, is a partnership between BayCare and Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg.

Many in the migrant community benefit from La Esperanza’s services. BayCare’s Faith Community Nursing program provides medical services at La Esperanza. The local St. Joseph’s Hospital-South in Riverview, located just minutes from La Esperanza, is part of the 15-hospital BayCare Health System.

The Faith Community Nursing program used grant funds from TD Charitable Foundation to purchase the ultrasound machine. Previously without an ultrasound machine, La Esperanza patients needing an ultrasound had to go to the San Jose Mission in Dover, another free clinic operated by BayCare and Catholic Charities.

Stephanie Morrison, a board-certified advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) and supervisor of both La Esperanza and San Jose Mission, said lack of transportation and other challenges associated with going to Dover would sometimes prevent La Esperanza patients from getting the ultrasound. San Jose Mission is located more than 25 miles from La Esperanza and can take up to an hour to get to for some residents in Hillsborough’s SouthShore. Morrison also noted that one ultrasound machine between both locations caused delays for patients as often there was a wait list.

The ultrasound at La Esperanza will help alleviate some of the barriers and obstacles associated with transportation and wait lists. La Esperanza will use the machine to detect abnormalities in the female productive tract and provide diagnostic images in the gastrointestinal, abdominal, urological and endocrine systems.

“This will help fulfill an enormous need in our community,” Morrison said. “Our goal is to help keep people out of the hospital and help the health system as a whole to provide for this community. Having this (the ultrasound) is big in that sense. We’ve only just begun, and we already have a list of patients that we feel need it.”

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