Undergraduate nursing students recently assumed the role of teacher as part of a three week field project at Essex Junior Academy, a school for special and alternative education designed to serve both classified and non-classified at-risk students. The teaching assignment was part of a final curriculum requirement for the course in Community Health Perspectives, with topics assigned by the school's principal Charles Johnson based on subject matter that he felt would most benefit this unique audience.
According to Diane Logan, clinical instructor for the course, students must go on-site to an area middle or high school and prepare a lesson that includes a bulletin board as a visual aid. She stressed that part of the process includes the ability for the student nurses to adjust their plans according to the needs and direction of the school's administration after spending a week meeting with the students as well as the school nurse.
Among other presentations that included lessons on personal hygiene and drug awareness, senior Isiah Sabalvaro's focused on sexually transmitted diseases (STD's). His first step was to build rapport and gain the respect of a group of students where short attention and behavior were prevalent issues. He accomplished this through a medium with which most all young people can identify these days: electronic gaming. Sabalvaro posed questions that dealt with common beliefs and stigmas attached to STD's through Kahoot, a site generated platform that challenges the user to provide answers in a competitive format. Once he had their attention, he began to explore students' perceptions more in the form of a discussion as opposed to a class. "I needed to make them feel comfortable. I knew that I once I built good rapport, they'd be ready to listen. Students like this are more willing to learn if you just talk to them on their level, and not at them," he stated.
Sabalvaro's tactic worked. According to Diane Ferrara, school nurse for the Academy and a '79 alumna, she and the administration were nothing short of impressed at how much the students invested themselves in the sessions with virtually no distractions or difficulties. "SHU is well prepared. We have had other similar class sessions that have not always had the ability to reach this student population. Their nursing students are so mature and professional. I don't think I knew as much when I first started. It took me working in the profession for many years to gain that level of knowledge and confidence," stated Ferrara.
Categories: Health and Medicine