Global Service Learning: Teaching Community Health in Haiti

Sunday, 29 October 2017: 11:05 AM

Tim J. Bristol, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, ANEF
Educator, Walden University, Minnetrista, MN, USA

Three sections of community health clinical were taught in Haiti. These students are from a large east coast American university in an accelerated BSN nursing program. These students travel to Haiti with a nursing instructor with the plan of meeting the clinical requirements in their community health nursing course. They partner with the first BSN nursing program in Haiti. American students are paired with a junior or senior BSN Haitian student to work in the community and in the hospital. They provide assessment and triage in these settings. At least 2 days are spent in a small rural village identifying healthcare needs of vulnerable and impoverished individuals. When a need is identified, American and Haitian physicians and nurse practitioners are consulted for a treatment plan. If the nursing students can intervene with education and resources, they jointly implement their plan with Haitian nursing student. They also spend time in the hospital for the poor in this community. Jointly, Haitian and American students are given a patient assignment and expected to collaborate with the primary nurse for that client.

Other activities include teaching CPR / First aid in rural areas and to community health workers who serve isolated communities. These isolated communities have not options for first responder care and often basic injuries or illness turn into serious life threatening conditions. Students study resources available to these communities and explore the impact of environmental and political concerns on the health of the villagers. They also provide health education in schools, churches, and community environments. Finally, they collaborate with Haitian students to identify community needs and explore possible solutions.

This collaborative has proven effective based on feedback from clinical partners, Haitian nursing students, Haitian nursing faculty, American nursing students, and American nursing faculty. Outcomes will be shared related to the impact on learning outcomes and critical thinking for all involved.