Texas Christian University
Overview of Curriculum Innovation
The undergraduate program leading to a baccalaureate degree in nursing has a two course 5 credit sequence of public health nursing content in the last semester of the senior year. The courses, a 3 credit graded didactic course in public health nursing concepts and a 2 credit pass-no credit practicum, are organized using the Clinical Prevention and Population Health Curriculum Framework for Health Professions, the ANA Scope and Standards for Public Health Nursing, and the Minnesota Wheel for Public Health Nursing Interventions. The concepts inherent in these models are presented in the didactic course and linked to aggregate focused practice applications using a team based approach to the practicum projects.
Three examples of these projects are 1.) Safe Routes to School – in this project groups of undergraduate students collaborated with the community (city planners, civil engineer, school district officials and city officials) to build a community-mediated proposal to the city council to improve routes that children took to school. The project spanned several years in which undergraduate nursing students worked with the community to document problems with routes to school, provide background information, and craft proposals for improvements. The project resulted in a 9.4 million dollar bond package commitment to improve the school routes. 2.) Emergency preparedness capacity building using a routine flu immunization project as an exemplar that develops assessment, planning, and implementation skills for mass immunizations and public health leadership. In this project undergraduate students mobilize limited resources over a short time-frame to immunize a community. They are charged with development of points of distribution that maximize immunization coverage with minimal available resources. This exercise develops the skills needed to manage mass immunizations that might be required in a disaster situation. Faculty serve as consultants to insure project success yet allow the student teams to manage the entire project, further developing leadership skills and confidence of the novice nursing student.3) Development of culturally appropriate and acceptable health screening services working with a Muslim community as a cooperating partner. In this project undergraduate students develop skills in cultural awareness and respectful delivery of essential screening and health education services. They develop a culturally acceptable approach to service delivery in a real world community setting.
For all projects an outcomes grid is developed consistent based on the measurable objectives defined for the specific community project. While the undergraduate program is largely based on the medical model, the student evaluations of the Public health nursing experience have been largely positive. The Public Health faculty help students grasp the focus on the public health model of primary prevention by providing an aggregate focused, team delivered, evidence based, meaningful real world needed interventions for the populations they serve.
Sharon Canclini, RN, MS, CNE
Texas Christian University