204357 Attitudes toward homelessness: An evaluation of a public health nursing educational experience

Monday, November 9, 2009: 1:30 PM

Karen M. Loewenson, RN, BSN , Department of Nursing, St.. Catherine University, St Paul, MN
Roberta J. Hunt, PhD, MSPH, RN , Department of Nursing, St. Catherine University, St Paul, MN
Homelessness continues to be a challenging social and public health issue in the United States. Nurse educators are compelled to better prepare graduates to serve this growing segment of the population. Incorporating service learning into public health nursing clinical education allows students to better understand and apply principles of social justice and advocacy into the care of underserved populations. An academic-practice partnership between a department of nursing in a small liberal arts university and a community agency providing transitional housing for homeless women and children was established using a service learning model. Under the supervision of a nursing instructor and agency social worker, students provide home visiting for families living in transitional housing. This clinical learning experience strives to foster student compassion and understanding for homeless populations and to inspire advocacy in community health nursing practice. Evaluation of student nurses' attitudes toward the homeless was sought as one measure of success for this educational experience.

The Attitudes Toward Homelessness Inventory [ATHI] was used to measure students' attitudes before and after the educational experience.

Comparative data between the two points in time will be presented. Research is in progress and full results are not yet available.

Lessons learned from this action research will be presented. The impact on students' attitudes toward homelessness will be evaluated. Recommendations to nurse educators interested in developing an academic-practice partnership for the provision of home visiting for families living in transitional housing will be addressed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe a public health nursing educational experience that benefits homeless community members. 2. Discuss the influence of service learning educational experiences on attitudes toward homelessness in public health nursing students.

Keywords: Homelessness, Nursing Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a registered nurse and public health nurse praciticing community health nursing in a public school setting. At present, I am enrolled in a master's degree program in nursing with a concentration to nurse educator practice. The proposed abstract/research presentation is part of my graduate studies work for degree completion.
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.