In 2015 The Department of Nursing secured grant funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to enhance student learning about population-based health care in our BSN curriculum. Population health requires that nurses (a) understand the broader issues involved in determining health, (b) be able to approach solutions or interventions from that broader perspective as well as existing research evidence or best practices and (c) be able to mobilize existing community resources in the service of better health outcomes. To support these initiatives, the grant funded the purchase of the Community Action Poverty Simulation program from the Community Action Network. This interactive program allows students to “experience” a month in the life of someone living in poverty in a 3-hour simulation activity. Through implementation of the Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) program, students in Nursing and other majors across campus are engaged in experiential role playing and guided reflection with local community members, thereby deepening their understanding of realities and myths of poverty in America. The simulation experience challenges students to examine some of our nation’s most pressing social justice problems, including socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, environmental, educational, and health disparities, among others. The first simulation was run as a pilot in the Spring of 2016 with 75 nursing students. Approximately 250-275 students will participate in this project during the academic year 2016-2017. The participants include: 90 sophomore-level nursing students and 60 freshman/sophomore-level public health students, 26 mixed majors, 40 health and exercise science students, 20-30 pre-medical students, 20 graduate nursing students, and 21 RN-BSN off site students.
Information will be collected to evaluate the simulation as an interprofessional activity. Matched pre and post test data will be collected without the use of student names, along with qualitative information about the simulation experience. The 16 question survey include questions regarding knowledge, attitudes, and opinions regarding people living in poverty. Information will also be collected about the experience overall and in regards to working with other professionals.