Teaching the MDGs: the Role of the Nurse in Multidsciplinary Project Based Instruction

Monday, 18 November 2013: 2:25 PM

Daniel B Oerther, PhD, MS, BS, BA
Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO
Sarah E Oerther, MSN, BSN, MEd, RN
Missouri EDGE, LLC, Rolla, MO

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to apply the role of the nurse in different international sustainable development situations.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to evaluate the difference between "needs" and "wants".

Promoted by the United Nations, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight quantitative metrics to be achieved by 2015 with the ultimate purpose of reducing global poverty, chronic disease, and stalled development.  Over seven years, the authors have partnered with nurses and other professionals to teach the MDGs through project based instruction in the USA, Brazil, Guatemala, India, Kenya, and Tanzania.  Project based instruction (also known as project based learning or PBL) uses in-depth, rigorous real world projects to facilitate student learning.  Hallmarks of PBL include hands-on design, problem solving, decision making, and investigation in a student centered, active learning environment with instructors playing the role of facilitator and expert advisor.  Courses by the authors have included mandatory study abroad as well as service based learning to combine formal instruction with service to the global community. 

Trans-disciplinarity and synchronicity have been explored as part of past and ongoing courses.  Reflective exercises as well as summative assessments of student cognition and attitudes have also been incorporated as part of these courses.  Projects have included the deployment and assessment of technologies for point of use and community level clean drinking water and sanitation, school feeding programs, community gardens, the construction of health clinics and schools, as well as recent innovations to create economic opportunity through jobs in the information economy.  This presentation will summarize results from seven years of ongoing instruction and provide best practices and lessons learned for nursing instructors considering PBL approaches to offer authentic learning opportunities for nursing students in the area of the MDGs (including community health).