Providing Hands on Research Opportunities to Support Global Learning Experiences

Wednesday, 14 July 2010: 11:20 AM

Kae Livsey, MPH, RN, PhD
School of Nursing, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC

Learning Objective 1: Describe an innovative approach to enhance EBP with undergraduate nursing students through a Community Assessment research project in Arequipa, Peru

Learning Objective 2: List opportunities and challenges in promoting undergraduate nursing student participation in conducting international research.

      Nurse educators in baccalaureate nursing programs are challenged to incorporate evidence based teaching strategies, as well as promote students’ ability to critique and utilize research findings.  While many nursing curricula include strategies to promote evidence based practice, low levels of research utilization among practicing nurses have been reported.1,2  Given these findings, nurse educators need to explore new and innovative approaches to enhance undergraduate nursing students understanding of research activities to inform practice.

This presentation describes an example a unique opportunity for undergraduate nursing students to engage in research to support evidence- based nursing practice. In March 2009, students assisted with an interdisciplinary community health needs assessment research project during an international community health clinical experience in Arequipa, Peru. Besides supporting overall community health course learning outcomes, these undergraduate students conducted hands- on research, by collecting demographic and healthcare utilization data on 500 households during one week of the trip.

Hands on participation in the project enhanced undergraduate student understanding of human subject protections requirements when conducting research. Active participation in the data collection efforts also helped student understanding of some challenges of conducting large scale research projects, especially in an international setting. Most importantly, the experience helped the students incorporate evidence about specific community health needs when designing client care plans and program strategies. Evaluation of the effectiveness of the experience includes student qualitative feedback on how the experience enhanced their understanding of research to inform practice.

 1Bonner, A., Sando, J. (2008). Examining the knowledge, attitude and use of research by nurses. Journal of Nursing Management, 16(3), 334-343.

2McCleary, L., Brown, G. T. (2002). Research utilization among pediatric health professionals. Nursing & Health Sciences, 4(4), 163-171.