Sunday, November 4, 2007

This presentation is part of : Global Team Projects
Incorporating an International Perspective of Community Health Nursing into a Baccalaureate Nursing Program
Roxanne Amerson, MSN, RN, BC, School of Nursing, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA
Learning Objective #1: describe one method of incorporating an international clinical experience into a community health nursing course.
Learning Objective #2: discuss the benefits and limitations of a short-term immersion program for a school of nursing.

It is common for nursing faculty to include international or global health concerns as part of a community health nursing course. The questions exist – do the students really understand and value the issues that are presented? How can American nursing students truly understand issues of severe malnutrition, contaminated water supplies, a total absence of health care services, or high infant mortality rates that occur as a result of simple dehydration? By partnering with service organizations that provide short-term medical missions to lesser-developed countries, students are exposed to clinical opportunities that include a multitude of learning experiences. Students experience first-hand the challenges of providing health care to populations who live in extreme poverty and the ensuing health concerns. Working in countries in Central America allows the students to recognize the issues that result from language and cultural barriers. It is important to recognize and learn how to address these issues as the United States continues with exponential growth in the Hispanic population. Pre- and post-immersion surveys evaluate changes in the students’ self-perceived abilities to apply transcultural nursing skills as a result of the immersion experience. Students learn valuable lessons that they can apply to their nursing practice as they begin their nursing career here in the United States.