Online Program

"Things are not what they appear": Benefits of semester long student family partnerships

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ann G. Hershberger, PhD, RN, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA, VA
Kate Clark, RN, MSN, Department of Nursing, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA
Background/ Issue:  The Nurse of the Future Core Competencies include knowledge, attitudes and skills regarding the family.  Few basic nursing programs offer a stand-alone course in family systems nursing. However nurses who have had such a course display more positive attitudes toward families than those who have not had one.  In addition, nurse home visiting correlates with persistent positive outcomes for families.

Description:   One undergraduate nursing program incorporates a stand-alone Family Nursing course.  Students are paired with a family in the community, preferably from a different culture than the student.  Families are referred by schools, churches, refugee resettlement, public health or other agencies.  Students perform a family assessment, care plan and teaching plan in 7-9 home visits.  At the end of the semester students describe what they learned from the family. 

Lessons Learned: Student reflection on their learning reveal themes related to Core Competencies.  Students report increased flexibility and patience and see the family as collaborator in the nursing process.  They develop appreciation for family strength and resilience, the family’s ability to name their priority needs and value the family's culture. Students attest to positive responses to the family nursing role.

Implications/recommendation: Requiring a course that includes family systems nursing content and  multple home visits provides the opportunity to absorb the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed for an engaged and effective nursing practice.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Explain the concepts and components of Family Systems Nursing (FSN). Discuss the benefits of student partnership with a family over time. Consider ways to deepen nurses' competency with FSN.

Keyword(s): Nursing Education, Partnerships

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have taught the Family Nursing course for over 20 years. I studied Family Systems Nursing in a masters program. I assisted in translation and sharing this course with a school of nursing in Nicaragua.
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.