206669 Community health nursing clinical placements in Head Start centers: A mutually beneficial partnership

Monday, November 9, 2009

Elena Ward Rilleau , School of Nursing, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Fatima Arastu , School of Nursing, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Larry Vitale, RN, PHN, MPA , School of Nursing, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Nursing programs are frequently faced with insufficient placement options for their Community Health Nursing clinical rotations. The federally-funded Head Start program provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and social services for low-income children, aged 3-5 years, and their families. While CHN placements in health departments may be limited, Head Start programs are underutilized clinical placement options that are widely available.

In San Francisco CA, baccalaureate nursing students are placed at Head Start programs during their community health nursing rotation. Their activities include physical assessment, health education, quality assurance, and community assessment. Head Start enables students to experience Public Health Nursing in a way that fosters autonomy, confidence, and personal as well as professional growth.

Through reflective journaling, students report on their CHN experience at Head Start. They report: experiencing autonomy, increasing their confidence, exercising creativity in meeting needs of the children and parents, satisfaction in feeling they are ‘making a difference,' and personal growth by gaining a better understanding of how community conditions directly impact the health of community residents and their children. Student and Head Start satisfaction is directly related to the amount of planning and clarification of the roles and expectations of nursing students and Head Start staff.

We recommend that baccalaureate nursing programs throughout the country consider establishing partnerships with local Head Start programs and thus meet the needs of nursing students and children from the community.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify opportunities to form partnerships with local Head Start programs 2. Formulate a plan to integrate Community Health Nursing into Head Start centers 3. Describe the role of a Community Health Nursing Student in Head Start

Keywords: Head Start, Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Community Health Nursing student placed in a Head Start program
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.