A Collaborative Partnership to Improve Health and Educate Nurses in an Old Order Mennonite Community

Saturday, 16 November 2013: 3:35 PM

M. Susan Jones, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, ANEF1
Dawn Garrett-Wright, PhD, MSN, CNE1
Eve Main, DNP2
(1)School of Nursing, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
(2)School of Nursing, Western Kentucky University School of Nursing, Bowling Green, KY

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe the process of building a relationship with an old order Mennonite community designed to foster nursing student engagement.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to discuss the challenges and outcomes of creating an educational collaborative partnership with a cultural diverse community.

This presentation will describe the engagement of nursing students in a health promotion project involving members of an old order Mennonite community in rural Kentucky.  This on-going project involved creating multiple partnerships with a School of Nursing, an Area Health Education Center (AHEC), a Family Practice Medical Residency program, and members of an old order Mennonite community.  The process of accessing this diverse population and strategies used to sustain this long relationship will be shared. 

This service learning project is designed to provide nursing students and family medicine residents the opportunity to provide health care in a culturally appropriate context.Students are integrated into this service learning experience in diverse ways to meet their program outcomes.  The health promotion project is conducted one day each month and is referred to as Clinic Day in the Mennonite Community.  The project uses a participatory model with community members determining the educational focus of monthly discussions.  These educational programs are planned, implemented, and evaluated by the nursing students, medical residents and faculty.  Topics have included diabetes, women’s health, obesity, immunizations, mental health, use of herbs and vitamins, and CPR training.  The one-hour educational session is followed by a primary care clinic.  During the clinic, nursing students offer health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose. 

Evaluation of this collaborative, innovative educational approach demonstrates a mutually beneficial relationship for all players.  Members of the Mennonite community benefited as their health needs, identified by their own people, are addressed.  The nursing students and medical residents benefit as they apply principles of health promotion, program planning, and teaching and learning within the context of a culturally diverse rural population.  Lastly, the faculty views the project as a unique, interdisciplinary service-learning experience that fosters knowledge development and dissemination and creates networks between the community and the university.