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Nursing curriculum provides community-based experience

The Department of Nursing is rolling out its community-based service learning curriculum, under the direction of  Rhonda Maneval, DEd, MSN, RN, associate chair for Undergraduates in the Department of Nursing, and Anne Marie Kiehne, Ph.D., RN, course director for the Community Home family of six courses. These courses begin for baccalaureate nursing students in the fall of their sophomore year, and the students are assigned to the same community homes from then until they graduate six semesters later.

One of those exciting sites is in the Kensington neighborhood, through Congreso’s Pan American Academy Charter School, located at Dauphin and Mascher Streets near the York-Dauphin El stop. Students at the school are enrolled from kindergarten through 7th grade, and the school has been operative for three academic years. 

It has made yearly progress, and with the help of the student nurses and faculty who assist them, is on its way to making a difference in the health of children from the second least served Congressional Districts (for the nutrition and other socioeconomic parameters) in the United States.

Students work directly with Certified School Nurses and Certified Registered [Pediatric] Nurse Practitioners (CRNPs) in the school’s Wellness Center to assess growth and development, and then intervene when indicated. Common screening efforts include audiometric testing, measuring heights and weights to calculate Body Mass Indices (BMIs), vision and scoliosis screening.  The students are participating in a program led by Ashley Reid from Congreso to reach all students, especially 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, with strategies for making healthy food selections. Approximately 40 percent of the students in the school have BMIs at or greater than healthy percentile ranks.

This exciting partnership creates loyalty, continuity, and relationship building for student nurses, faculty and students in the school alike.  Department of Nursing Faculty members involved in this project include Monika Jelic,MPH, MSN, CRNP, Lori Prol, MSN CRNP and Sue Dickey, RN, PhD.