201397 Teaching pubic health nursing in nontraditional settings: A student experience in a men's bath house

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Joanne Costello, PhD, RN , School of Nursing, Rhode Island College, Providence, RI
Timothy Cavanaugh, MD , Family Health Services, Cranston, RI
Arthur Dilworth, RN, BSN , School of Nursing, Rhode Island College, Providence, RI
Robert Ducharme , Immunology, The Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI
Kenneth H. Mayer, MD , Infectious Diseases, Brown University/The Miriam Hospital/Fenway Community Health, Providence, RI
Accounting for almost three quarters of all HIV infections among male adults and adolescents, the population of men who have sex with men (MSM) has borne a significant burden of HIV infection and AIDS. While the number of diagnosis of HIV for this group decreased in the early history of the disease, an increased trend in HIV diagnosis has occurred over the past several years. Innovative approaches to outreach and education for primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention are required to curb this trend.

Public health nursing students can positively influence the health of MSM and learn real world prevention strategies through participation in an intervention which targets MSM at a men's bath house. A learning experience was created in a Transition to Professional Practice course for an undergraduate student who had familiarity with the MSM population and had worked with HIV and AIDS clients in a previous Community/Public Health Nursing clinical course. The student partnered with a group working with this population at a private “men's club” through a grant. The team consisted of two physicians and a certified HIV/AIDS counselor who had familiarity with the population in addition to the student nurse.

The student participated in education, outreach, counseling, and referral activities. This setting provided a rich experience for the student to work on critical thinking and exploration related to ethical issues of balancing enabling and. fully utilizing a teachable moment as well as balancing client self-determination and public health and safety. In addition, the issue of maintaining a professional relationship in an unorthodox setting was discussed and constructively processed by the student. The experience was a valuable one for the public health nursing student who benefited from a creative approach to public health nursing practice as well as the clients of the private men's club where the student continues to volunteer as a practicing nurse.

Learning Objectives:
Explain the advantages and challenges of implementing a learning experience at a private “men’s club” for public health nursing students. Discuss the long and short term learning outcomes of this clinical experience for public health nursing students. Explore the ethical and political issues inherent in providing a nontraditional clinical experience for public health nursing students.

Keywords: Nursing Education, HIV Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a public health nursing educator for 15 years and hold a PhD in nursing.
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.