186808 Rethinking integration of public health nursing clinical into undergraduate curricula: It can be a good thing

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 1:30 PM

Betty B. Daniels, MN, RN , College of Nursing - Athens Campus, Georgia Health Sciences University, Atlanta, GA
Gayle W. Bentley, DNP, APRN, BC , College of Nursing, Georgia Health Sciences University, Augusta, GA
Community health nursing educators have generally resisted the integration of public health content into the curriculum. The concern has been that the essentials of public health nursing would get lost when competing with the intensity of the acute care experience. As a result of a curriculum change, faculty had the opportunity to rethink ways of introducing public health nursing in a maternal child course. Junior level students had an introductory session to public health nursing at the beginning of the course and were assigned to a portion of their clinical with public health nurse preceptors in health departments. The outcome was that students were significantly more excited about public health nursing as a specialty, and they recognized the uniqueness of the independent practice. They had the opportunity to see a broader range of women and children in terms of age, health status, and socio-economic background, which resulted in more active class discussions regarding personal values, parenting practices, and access to care. Students were able to focus on and apply health promotion knowledge as they participated in patient teaching in the non-crisis oriented setting. This experience has changed the way they view patients in the hospital setting and enhanced their understanding of relationship between healthy families and healthy communities. Having the public health experience early in the curriculum allowed the students to use public health principles throughout their educational program, instead of concentrating the experiences in the senior year.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of the session the participant will be able to: Identify the advantages of early integration of public health nursing in the baccalaureate nursing curriculum. Describe methods of implementing public health clinical in a maternal child course. Assess curricula for natural fits of public health nursing concepts.

Keywords: Nursing Education, Public Health Nursing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a long time nursing faculty member and teach MN family-community health at the University level.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.