4312.0: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - Board 5

Abstract #28644

Translating Theory into Practice: Nursing Student Projects at Local Health Departments

Rita E. Arras, RN, MS, School of Nursing, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Box 1066, Edwardsville, IL 62026-1066, , rarras@siue.edu and Candace Cook, RN, BSN, St. Clair County Health Department, 19 Public Square, Belleville, IL 62220-1624.

The clinical setting provides nursing students with the opportunity to apply lessons learned in the classroom. In the last 20 years, many new theories of health behavior have emerged and are being incorporated into nursing curricula. Theories of health behavior can help nurses understand and provide better care for their patients. Nurses in public health settings provide a great deal of patient education and counseling, specifically around issues such as nutrition, exercise, tobacco cessation, and pregnancy care, and parenting. Students in public health departments frequently engage in these nursing activities. These activities provide the ideal opportunity for students to apply theories of health behavior learned in the classroom to their clinical practice. This poster presentation will describe the experiences of nursing students at one local health department. The clinical instructor and agency coordinator developed a project that would be helpful to the health department and meaningful for students. Students were assigned the task of revising the health department's prenatal teaching program. Revisions in content and process were addressed. Students studied and selected elements from health behavior theories that were most relevant in this setting. Elements of the Transtheoretical Model of Change were incorporated into smoking cessation counseling. Self-efficacy, barriers, and components of Social Learning Theory were also incorporated. The clinical instructor and agency coordinator guided the students through this process and provided training for nursing staff to gain an understanding of how these theories could improve their nursing practice.

Learning Objectives: 1. Describe opportunities in the public health setting where students can apply health behavior theory to nursing practice. 2. Explain the role of agency staff and the clinical instructor in teaching theory in the public health clinical setting.

Keywords: Students, Health Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 129th Annual Meeting of APHA