Online Program

‘Life in the State of Poverty' Simulation: Preparing Future Health Professionals via Transformative Learning

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Audrey June Burnett, PhD, CHES, Department of Health Sciences, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Emily Akerson, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Background: Transformative learning opportunities, such as simulation activities, assist students with thinking critically, applying course material in an effective manner, and fostering team-building. Simulation activities also prepare students for situations and populations that they may encounter as health care professionals working in teams. The current project is a pilot effort to interpret students’ reflections regarding 'Life in the State of Poverty,' a simulation that exposes students to the difficulties associated with poverty that many of their patients experience. Students are asked to reflect on their learning regarding ethical decision-making in healthcare and their future role as a health professional.

Methods: As part of a course requirement over the course of two semesters, a total of 120 undergraduate health sciences majors were randomly assigned to a unique “family unit” for a three-hour hands-on simulation in collaboration with other majors and local professionals/agencies. Students were required to navigate the various community agencies while also providing basic needs for their respective families. Three prompts were provided for students’ written reflections following the simulation.  

Results: NVIVO 10, qualitative data analysis software, revealed several major themes that were most prominent in students’ written reflections. Notable student quotes will be highlighted during the presentation. 

Conclusions: The impact of the simulation on students’ evaluation of structural/systemic and personal problems within their assigned family units was demonstrated via the major themes. Students displayed advanced critical thinking and application skills via their written reflections, which exemplified the effectiveness of the simulation as an impactful learning opportunity.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Other professions or practice related to public health
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Identify the importance of providing students with collaborative and transformative team-based learning opportunities. Discuss the interprofessional planning process in designing effective hands-on simulation-based learning activities.

Keyword(s): Poverty, Community-Based Partnership & Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple manuscripts and grants focusing on public health issues (e.g., e-cigarette marketing and regulation), community health needs assessments, older adults and quality of life, health risk behaviors among college students, and currently teach public health education courses in the Dept. of Health Sciences at a major university.
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.