Thursday, July 12, 2007
This presentation is part of : In Giving We Receive: Community Engagement of Nursing Students with Culturally Diverse Populations
Making a Difference in High-Risk Families: Implementation of Evidence Based Interventions by Undergraduate Nursing Students
Gayle P. Olsen, RN, MS, C-PNP, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Winona State University, Rochester, MN, USA and Sharon Tucker, DNSc, RN, Department of Nursing, Division of Nursing Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.

Research has clearly indicated that children from families with risk factors have poor outcomes when compared to children in families without risk factors.  An innovative program was developed to provide intervention services to high risk families with children aged 18 months to 5 years.  Nursing students visited high risk families on a regular basis for their entire senior year.

Two interventions with proven effectiveness in improving outcomes for children and parents in high risk families—home visitation by professional nurses and a standardized parent training program--were adapted for the program.   In the effort to translate this research into practice, multiple challenges emerged including maintaining fidelity of the intervention and limited dosage of the intervention related to missed visits, language barriers and chaotic family lives.

Over a five year period, families (n = 82) received at least one visit. Eligibility criteria included at least two of the following: low income, limited social support, mental illness, chemical dependency, limited education, history of abuse, or involvement with criminal systems. Forty-two percent of families were ethnically diverse with 21% non-English speaking.

Data related to family outcomes were gathered over 4 years using standardized assessment tools. Although analysis was difficult due to missing data, trends in positive directions emerged related to reduced parenting stress and depression, and improved child behavior. Using a mixed method design, student data were gathered for five years. Results showed significant gains in knowledge of public health nursing and community resources, increased sensitivity to challenges faced by high risk families, an expanded repertoire of family interventions, and an increase in self-reported confidence working with clients from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Students also learned from their participation in the process of translating research into practice. Strategies and challenges in translating best practices into clinical settings will be discussed.