Monday, November 5, 2007

This presentation is part of : Teaching and Learning Initiatives
Head Start: An Alternative Pediatric Clinical Experience
William T. Campbell, EdD, MS, RN and Mary T. Parsons, MS, CRNP. Department of Nursing, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD, USA
Learning Objective #1: list three learning opportunities or skills for nursing students to acquire by partnering with Head Start.
Learning Objective #2: list three reasons for Head Start to partner with nursing departments or schools for their clinical pediatric nursing experiences at Head Start.

The purpose of this pediatric clinical experience is to give baccalaureate nursing students an opportunity to observe normal growth and development patterns in preschool children in an educational setting, to conduct developmental screenings, to administer health assessments, to practice leadership skills, and to provide age appropriate health teaching.   By partnering the school of nursing with a local community Head Start affiliate the students and their faculty member also take on a volunteer role in administering developmental screening tools to meet Head Start’s federally mandated screening needs and deadlines, to conduct required health screenings, to deliver health education, and to role model healthy lifestyles.  Head Start is a locally administered nationwide multi-faceted educational program for lower socioeconomic children and is very dependent on volunteer contributions and services.  Federal guidelines mandate certain screenings must be completed by established deadlines during each academic year.  The nursing students are able to assist the program administrators in completing these screenings including vision, hearing, blood pressure, height, weight, and speech and language assessment. In the process of helping the program meet its needs the students gain hands-on experience in administering various developmental screening tools and health assessment skills.  Research, documentation, communications, computer technology, organization, time management, and group process are also developed and reinforced in this clinical experience as designed by the instructors.  The 2 – 3 day experience becomes a positive situation for both of the partners.  With a national trend towards early education and health promotion and our University’s location in a rural setting with limited in-patient acute care pediatric experiences, this project is equally beneficial to both partners.  Our nursing program has evolved to include several alternative pediatric clinical experiences in the rural community setting.  Our partnership with Head Start is only one of those.