Building Community Nursing Competencies in Undergraduate Nursing Students: An Interprofessional Collaboration for Designing Reality-Based Field Simulations

Monday, 9 November 2015

Ellen D'Errico, PhD, NEA-BC
Kelly McHan, MPH, RN
School of Nursing, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, USA


Develop reality-based field simulations in an undergraduate community health nursing course, engaging students using visual and psychomotor skills, as well as critical and reflective thinking to enhance community-based nursing competencies.  Curriculum development was done in collaboration with pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and physical therapists focusing on low fidelity simulation techniques done in a classroom setting.


According to the Forum on the Future of Nursing: Care in the Community (2009), there is an anticipated 109% increase in the demand for full-time home health nurses from 2000-2020. If not fulfilled, this workforce shortage can be expected to negatively influence the health of communities. Schools of nursing must find ways to promote careers in community health nursing roles. The Carnegie Nursing Education Study stressed the importance of connecting theory with practice without relying so heavily on didactic teaching methods in order to close the theory/practice gap. Greater use of active simulation exercises in the curriculum may improve cognitive learning and retention, and increase student engagement in community nursing roles.


A classroom laboratory of activities such as home medication reconciliation, identification of elder abuse, wound/ostomy care, urinary catheterization using models, and physical assessment is done at several home-like setting stations where students practice skills and problem solving and are signed off by faculty. Students are asked to evaluate the learning experience.

Implication for Nursing Education

Increasing knowledge, skills and competencies in community health nursing curricula may attract greater numbers of students to consider nursing careers based in the community.