Team Faculty Approach to Introduce Grant Writing Experience in an Undergraduate Nursing Service Learning Course

Monday, 9 November 2015

Kelly Vandenberg, PhD, MSN, RN1
Pamela J. Hodges, PhD, MSN, RN2
Claudine Dufrene, PhD, MSN, BSN, ASN, RN-BC, GNP-BC1
Poldi Tschirch, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, CNE3
Corinne M. Oppermann, MSN, RN4
(1)School of Nursing, University of St. Thomas Carol and Otis Peavy School of Nursing, Houston, TX, USA
(2)School of Nursing, The University of St. Thomas Carol and Otis Peavy School of Nursing, Houston, TX, USA
(3)Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing, University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX, USA
(4)University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX, USA


During the nursing program, students of great diversity are able to achieve knowledge, leadership and professional qualities while fostering collaboration with four diverse communities. Undergraduate nursing students are introduced to research, but the development of their research skills does not end after the research class. Threading service learning activities across the curriculum that promotes research skills such as grant writing is a faculty team approach. 

The purpose of this innovative educational project is to use an evidenced based approach to strategically identify high impact research activities to inspire service learning and research skills among nursing students in a newly developed undergraduate nursing program. The first step is providing a grant writing opportunity.  This includes the collaboration of the faculty team, nursing students, and community leaders to support the activity. Faculty will direct students toward service learning activities that incorporate research skills.


A newly developed nursing program that began in 2012 at a faith-based Hispanic serving university in southeast Texas explored evidence to support the strategic placement of "real-world" experiences in development of nurse research scientists. The program requires the research course, clinical inquiry, during the second semester. The grant writing service learning activity is incorporated in the third semester community nursing course.  The project is consistent with the BSN nursing program outcomes listed below. 

  • Provide relationship-centered nursing care that is grounded in nursing theory and guided by evidence based best practice standards to support individuals, families and communities in achieving their goals for healing and wholeness.
  • Utilize nursing theory, nursing research and methods of clinical inquiry as the basis for continuously enhancing the quality of care.
  • Participate in the social advocacy role of the nurse through membership in professional organizations and engagement in community service.


The project will be evaluated using qualitative and quantitative surveys that target the faculty team, community nursing students, and community leaders.

Surveys are focused on five areas.

  1. Provide instruction and guidance in grant writing
  2. Allow student groups to submit for actual funds made available through a Teaching Enhancement Grant
  3. Provide the ability to disseminate results via posters at various venues
  4. Support the missions of the four designated communities during service-learning experiences
  5. Support the goals and mission of the University and the School of Nursing


The 2016 nursing cohort completed a nursing research course the second semester of their nursing program.  The community course (third semester of nursing program) continues to build toward the on-going professional development of nursing students.  Students in the community course are divided into four groups and partnered with four identified diverse communities that have volunteered to participate in the following phases. 

  • Community Assessment

  • Development of community diagnosis of problem/needs and goals

  • Project Planning

  • Project Implementation

  • Project Evaluation and Dissemination of Results

    A team of five faculty members in the community course are charged with guiding, instructing, and mentoring students in the application process, poster development and dissemination of results. The course coordinator will determine the grant awards based on the standardized criteria of feasibility, sustainability, merit, evaluation plan, and budget. Total project time allowed is three months. 


Results pending.

Survey results from the faculty team, students, and community leaders will be analyzed and presented at the end of the project. In addition, the number and quality of proposal applications submitted, and the number of proposals funded will be evaluated and presented.


The project seeks to provide evidence to support a service learning grant writing activity in the curriculum. Findings will help to identify additional activities to enrich future courses and achieve enhanced community collaboration by transforming nursing practice.