University of Missouri

University of Missouri

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OVErview of the Curriculum Innovation

The University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing provides a two-week study abroad opportunity in community health nursing to undergraduate students through placements in Cape Coast, Ghana or Cape Town, South Africa. This opportunity allows a group of students and a faculty member to engage in community health outreach and work in a public health clinic. The program runs twice a year typically the first two weeks of August and the first two weeks of January. Students learn adaptability, resourcefulness, cultural awareness and problem solving in the international setting. They also gain 90 community health clinical hours during the project. In addition to the field work, the students participate in afternoon classes focused on topics such as cultural competence, resourcefulness, social justice and problem solving. The logistics of the project are all managed by the school’s study abroad office at the University in cooperation with an external program that specializes in study abroad logistic management. The program has staff onsite that set up and help facilitate the experience during the two weeks of practice. Faculty is only responsible for managing for the academic content in the two week program. The program has been very successful, and will have over 60 undergraduate students since 2011. The evaluation of the project is conducted through a likert-scale attitude measuring tool as well as a journaling exercise. Students are required to respond to a journal topic before they travel, during their trip, and after their trip is completed. The journals provide evidence of significant attitude changes after the experience. This public health international immersion experience is being documented in several research projects including a doctoral dissertation focused on the study abroad experience. It will also be presented at the ACHNE/APHN meeting in June of 2013. 


Lynelle Phillips, RN MPH
University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing