Innovative Teaching Strategies for the Community Clinical Student: Engaging Students Where They Live

Monday, 9 November 2015

Bilinda L. Norman, MSN, BSN, APRN, CNS, CDE
College of Nursing and Health Professions, Arkansas State University, State University, AR, USA

The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate ways the community clinical experience engages nursing students in the community where they live.  With shorter length of stays in the acute care setting, the community health care nurse has assumed the responsibility of caring for more patients on an outpatient basis.   To meet the challenging needs of health care, a mid-southern university used a wide array of community resources to immerse their students into various types of nursing opportunities in the community setting rather than the typical acute care setting.  The students were introduced to community nursing in settings such as diabetes management, dialysis, wound care, school nursing, cancer centers, and a variety of other outpatient venues.

Community health nursing provides care not only to the individual patients, but to the families and the communities in which they live. The BSN nursing students are immersed into the community experience, allowing an opportunity to become well-rounded and explore a variety of nursing challenges.  With the changing health care system, and the advancing age of the population, nurses are needed more in the home and in the community setting.

Nurses in the community setting serve as educators, advocates for the patients, counselors, and patient liaisons/case managers, as well as providers of direct patient care. Students have observed that these clinical opportunities have opened their eyes to new avenues which nursing has to offer that were nonexistent prior to this clinical experience and have realized that community nursing plays a vital role in caring for the chronically ill and the aging population as well as the under privileged and under-served populations.  

This presentation will give specific examples of community health nursing facilities utilized to provide an opportunity for senior students to be exposed to a variety of nursing opportunities within the community.  The students were able to utilize critical thinking skills, advocate for individual patients and families, and provide direct patient care.