An important part of becoming a nurse is learning how a nurse cares for individual patients. Nursing students will also need to learn how to care for their communities they live and work in.
Third semester nursing students get that opportunity during their Mental Health and Community Concepts course. One of the assignments the nursing students complete is titled “Advocating for Your Community.” The students choose a community topic in their city or county and then develop a plan to help the community they choose.
Sound easy right? I am not sure the students would agree.
The project is comprehensive and the nursing students may spend months researching their communities and information relating to their specific topics. The students use evidence-based information they learn to formulate an advocacy plan that could potentially help their community. The conclusion of the project ends with presenting their work.
The nursing students present their research through poster board presentations at the end of the semester. With this experience, they gain an ability to understand their community as a whole, and also understand how to present research for their future careers as nurses.
The emphasize on the project is that small changes by nurses can eventually lead to larger changes within the communities.
A quote by Mother Theresa, that summarizes how a nurse can help within their community is “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
The topics for the project vary and are chosen by the nursing students. Some topics this semester included reducing childhood obesity, decreasing the stigma of mental illness, education the community about concussions, and reducing the epidemic of heroin use in communities.
On the last day of class, the students are able to show off their hard work with these poster board presentations. Other faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend and ask questions while the students explain their advocacy plan.
One of the nursing students, Megan Aschauer, wrote about the community project: “Members of some communities do not have an opportunity or feel as though they do not have a voice when it comes to certain aspects of their healthcare and, as a nurse, I can be that advocate for them and speak on their behalf. Being able to develop my own plan was something that I liked doing because I felt as though I was contributing to this community plan, and perhaps changing it for the better.”
If you’d like to learn more about our nursing program, or explore any of the other career options we offer, visit morainepark.edu/programs for all the details!