Service Learning In Nursing Education

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Concept of Nursing Education and Service Learning

Service Learning In Nursing Education

What Is Service Learning In Education,Implementation of Service Learning In Nursing Education,Requirement of Service Learning In Nursing Education,Outcomes of Service Learning In Nursing Education.

What Is Service Learning In Education

Service learning is a “teaching and learning method that connects meaningful community service experiences with academic learning, personal growth, and civic responsibility” (National Dropout Prevention Center Network, 2014, p. 1).

Implementation of Service Learning In Nursing Education

    The goal of service learning is to prepare students to become civic-minded with the ability to use critical thinking skills for solving real life problems and to see themselves as change agents as a result of their community-learning experiences (Cress , 2014). Service learning promotes greater social awareness, increased cultural competency, increased empathy, improved communication skills, and a continued commitment to service in the future (Amerson, 2010, 2012; Kelleher, 2013; Murray, 2013; Wehling, 2008). Students commonly see the experience as “eye opening” to the challenges that vulnerable able or disenfranchised populations face in their everyday lives and the privileges students may take for granted (Amerson, 2012; Hunt & Swiggum, 2007).

Requirement of Service Learning In Nursing Education

    The pedagogy of service learning requires that service activities are linked directly with the academic objectives; students must be active participants engaged in the planning and development of the service; reciprocity must exist between the student and the community client; and reflection must be incorporated into the experience (Amerson, 2014). The students must first be introduced to service-learning concepts and be prepared to engage in collaborative work with the community. 

    Preparation should include the process of engaging in meaningful full reflection, information about the country or community, cultural practices of the local community, and preparation for the cultural shock that may occur.The core principles of global service learning are cultural competence, compassion, curiosity, courage, collaboration, creativity, and capacity building (McKinnon & Fealy, 2011). Students must engage in active, experiential learning opportunities through community based activities where they work with community members in reciprocal learning partnerships. 

    Curiosity, compassion, and courage are needed to step outside the student's comfort zone to engage in collaboration and capacity building with diverse communities using creative approaches to solve everyday problems. These actions facilitate development of critical-thinking skills Students frequently indicate that service-learning projects or immersion programs are more effective teaching strategies than the traditional classroom lecture or videos.

    Numerous nursing researchers have demonstrated the value of international service learning as an effective strategy for the development of cultural competency in nursing students (Amerson, 2010, 2012: Bentley & Ellison, 2007, Curtin, Martins, Schwartz-Barcott, DiMaria, & Soler Ogando, 2013; Green, Comer, Elliott, & Neubrander, 2011; Hunt & Swiggum, 2007; Larson, Ott, & Miles, 2010). 

    Faculty should consider the following recommendations when planning a service learning project with nursing students match the economic status of the intended community with the goals of the curriculum; plan a time frame for work in the host country that will be manageable; provide opportunities for students to work outside their community zone, encourage visits to homes within the community, require students to provide direct care and teaching; and use a variety of methods of reflection, including journaling, discussion, and photography (Amerson, 2014). 

    Language skills play a critical role in engaging with communities in international settings. Therefore, students should participate in language classes prior to the service-learning experience. Socioeconomic issues and the current health care environment of the host country are often a part of the pre-requisite learning in preparation for working internationally. Debriefing is important upon return to the United States to help students understand the ambiguous feelings of privilege and guilt that may occur after work-ing in poverty-stricken countries. Although these recommendations are suggested primarily for use with international service learning, the principles may be adapted for use with service learning in local communities as well.

Outcomes of Service Learning In Nursing Education

    Nurse educators have demonstrated effective outcomes in the area of trans cultural self efficacy for nursing students following service learning in a variety of settings and with diverse vulnerable populations. It is recommended that evaluation of the student's perception of the service-learning experience, and the client's perception of the cultural competency displayed by the student. be evaluated. Future studies should focus on client satisfaction and the efficacy of health education or interventions being delivered during the service learning project.

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