Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

A Learning-Service Community Partnership Model for Pediatric Student EXPERIENCES

Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

A Learning-Service Community Partnership Model for Pediatric Student EXPERIENCES

Article excerpt

Nurse educators are attempting to revise the nursing curriculum to keep pace with the changing focus of health care and prepare graduates for practice in a community-based, community-focused health care system (1,2). An important aspect of the change in emphasis in nursing education is the need to address the primary and chronic health care needs of individuals, families, and aggregate populations.

Today's students require education in which health care encompasses more than the care of illness (3). The shift in emphasis is from illness to health and wellness, with student experiences taking place in a community context. Nurses of the future will be required to deliver care in multiple settings across traditional and nontraditional boundaries (4,5). Schools of nursing can lead the way by creating their own autonomous learning environments, such as nurse-managed care offered by faculty and students. This approach meets the learning needs of students while helping to fulfill the needs of underserved vulnerable populations through the provision of low-cost, quality health care (6).

To develop innovative and alternative learning experiences in nontraditional settings (7,8) while addressing issues related to service in the community, health care providers and recipients alike must have a clear sense of what is to be learned and what services will be provided (9). The learning-service community partnership model described in this article offers a framework for creating a community-based learning environment for nursing faculty and students and for providing primary care services to clients in community agencies and the larger community. This vision screening service example was implemented with young children, but the strategies applied are generalizable across the life span.

Community Partnerships Community participation is critical to the success of health care programs. As financial resources for educational institutions and for health care agencies shrink, collaborative relationships with community agencies offer an avenue for exploration. Fostering collaboration begins with an understanding of the talents and resources each organization can contribute. Further, successful collaboration requires defining a common goal and a shared vision (4), without which there is no motivation for the groups to come together.

Many factors influence interagency connections. Before entering into a collaborative relationship, it is important to assess the environmental situation, delineate specific tasks, explore the extent to which each agency is knowledgeable about the other organization's goals and resources, and discuss the extent to which there are mutual needs, goals, and objectives (10). It is useful to conduct site visits and develop relationships with agency personnel.

Figure 1 is a model for a community partnership between a school of nursing and a community agency(ies) with learning and service as the two major outcomes. The model represents a mutually reciprocal partnership. A school of nursing actively seeks out a learning environment in which faculty and students can practice and, in turn, offers services for clients. A community agency(ies) needs services provided by a school of nursing and offers a learning environment for faculty and students. As portrayed in the model, the school of nursing's participants include the school's director, faculty, and nursing students. The community agency consists of the agency director, staff, and clients.

[Figure 1 ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Learning Component It is necessary to determine which areas of the nursing curriculum can be successfully taught in the community. Types of services must match appropriate curriculum content areas. The key is to match curriculum requirements with client needs to provide an excellent learning experience while increasing access to primary health care services for clients.

As they integrate community-based nursing care into the curriculum, faculty work as direct service providers. …

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