Developing Cultural Competency through Service Learning in a Baccalaureate Nursing Program

Friday, 3 August 2012: 8:30 AM

Vicki S. Wissing, BSN, MSN, RN
Katheryn B. Arterberry, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
Pamela B. Simmons, PhD, RN
College of Nursing and Allied Health, Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Shreveport, LA

Northwestern State University College of Nursing and Allied Health (CONAH) is committed to engaging students in the life of the community to improve health, safety and well-being of individuals and groups. Community based service learning in Level 3 of the BSN program addresses care of special populations – infants, children, women and the elderly – with the goal of meeting health needs of the special populations, while fulfilling learning objectives for the clinical courses.  Service opportunities are supported through ongoing partnerships with multiple community agencies, area churches, and faith-based school clinics. The projects target needs derived from community assessments performed in 5th level and are planned, organized and delivered by the students. Learning is enhanced by the integrative approach to health care problem-solving across the lifespan—infancy to elderly. Through these experiences, academic and professional development is encouraged and serves to increase students’ awareness and understanding of unique health needs along the developmental continuum and the nurse’s role in meeting those needs. Additionally, because students interact with students from the Associate degree in nursing program, they have the opportunity to participate in leadership and collaborative problem-solving, modeling the communication skills essential to nursing practice. The projects are sustainable because of the community partnerships and curricular goals that synergistically enhance the quality of life in our community and allow students to grow in the understanding of service as a value.