Nursing students experiences with interdisciplinary service learning in Belize
Dawn Garrett-Wright, PhD, MSN, CNE; Eve Main, DNP
- Contributor Affiliation(s)
- Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA
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Nursing faculty and students from Western Kentucky University have been participating in an interdisciplinary service learning project in Gales Point, Belize. The purpose of the current study was to examine the students' perceptions of the effect of participating in this program on their cultural awareness, nursing skills and future professional and personal plans. An exploratory qualitative study was undertaken to address the research question. Participants included seven BSN/MSN students who participated in the IMPACT Belize service learning project in Winter Term 2010. Students kept journals during the orientation period before the trip, on the eight- day trip, and after the trip. Data analysis was conducted by analyzing the students' journals using a multi- stage content analysis. Credibility was enhanced by having two researchers independently code data and then come together to develop a coding strategy. A third reader was used to confirm the coding strategy and themes that were found. An audit trail was developed to enhance confirmability. Themes included: 1) expectations and emotions about the project, 2) developing a reciprocal relationship with the community, 3) valuing interdisciplinary collaboration, 4) acquiring knowledge that would impact their future nursing practice, 5) growing personally, 6) making future plans to continue doing service work, 7) recognizing themselves as part of a larger social network, 8) developing a shared responsibility for social problems, and 9) buying into the interdisciplinary change projects. Findings�support that the interdisciplinary service learning trip to Belize allowed students to�understand another culture and provided knowledge/skills they felt they could use in future practice.�The students reported personal growth and a desire to participate in future service projects. These findings support the inclusion of interdisciplinary and/or study abroad experiences in curricula.
41st Biennial Convention - 29 October-2 November 2011. Theme: People and Knowledge: Connecting for Global Health. Held at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center.
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