Aspects of the Course
Community health nurses are a vital link in the well-being of neighborhoods through the improvement of their health. These nurses work outside the hospital settings and interact directly with the community to identify health challenges and measures to address them. The Community Health Nursing course emphasizes various key concepts that students must learn to effectively provide care in the community. To begin with, the course introduces students to the history and evolving role of community health nurses. The key concept in this module is the role of the nurse in facilitating population health outcomes. This concept aligns with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACN) (2008) competency 1 which deals with liberal education for baccalaureate generalist nursing practice. Students will learn the role of nurses and assume responsibilities upon graduation.
Health assessment is an aspect of nursing that deals with the examination of the health status indicators for a given population. The community health nursing course will introduce students to ways of identifying community problems and how to engage populations in improving their care. Module 2 of the course will discuss comprehensive health assessment and use active learning strategies like question and answer sessions to improve the student’s understanding of the content. Educating students about health assessment aligns with the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) competence of patient-centered care. The learner will be able to describe how diverse cultural, ethnic, and social backgrounds affect the health of populations (Boswell et al., 2021). Additionally, the learner will gain insight into the importance of involving patients and their families in improving health outcomes.
Community health nursing recognizes that various factors impair population health outcomes and can be prevented. This course emphasizes key concepts like disease prevention, health education, and evidence-based practices to improve population health outcomes. For example, in module 6, the students will discuss disease prevention and its impact on the community. The learner will gain insight into the primary, secondary, and tertiary preventive measures and evidence-based strategies to implement these practices. In module 7, the key concept is health education and how it can be used to improve the health of vulnerable communities by minimizing risks. These concepts align with AACN competency 7 which deals with clinical prevention and population health. The learner will understand that health concerns change over the lifespan of a patient and health prevention is critical to improving population health (AACN, 2008). Through the utilization of active learning strategies like group discussions and problem-based learning, the student will improve their health assessment skills and collaborate to improve population health outcomes.
A key focus of the community is the prevention of diseases via health education. This course is relevant to the nursing profession because it informs students about health education and other disease prevention strategies. Key concepts like disease prevention, health education, health assessment, vulnerable populations, and monitoring health trends are vital to the role of the community health nurse. Another aspect that demonstrates professionalism is the utilization of active learning strategies like discussions, simulations, and problem-based learning. These strategies ensure that students work in teams to improve population health outcomes. The QSEN discusses the competency of teamwork and collaboration and depicts that it results in shared decision-making among healthcare providers (Boswell et al., 2021). Lastly, the course highlights the relevance of health promotion at the individual, family, and community levels. Students will acquire knowledge on implementing holistic, patient-centered care for any and every patient.
Cultivation of Course
Organizing instructional content is an important part of nursing education because it facilitates the learning process. The organization provides a framework for navigating information and helps the student to create an internal mental framework that provides meaning and helps with quick retrieval of information. The community health nursing course is divided into eight modules starting from the most basic aspects to more detailed concepts. The students will begin by understanding the broad picture of community health nursing and further develop knowledge from the modules in order of importance and complexity. Each module is organized in a manner that previous content helps to build knowledge for the next module.
Week 1: The topic of discussion for this week is the history of community health nursing whereby the students will learn theories of the course and how it has evolved. This topic will build a foundation for students to understand other concepts like community assessment and health promotion that are key to community health nursing. Using interactive lectures and group discussions, the students will discuss the evolving role of the community health nurse and the differences between community and public health.
Week 2: This week’s discussion is about the purpose of the community health nurse and the key attributes of nurses who specialize in this course. This topic is based on the student’s understanding of the history of community health nursing and the role of the nurses in module 1. through a question and answers session, the student will explore why community health nurses are required and the reason for specializing in this course after graduation. Additionally, understanding the key attributes of community health nurses like commitment, interprofessional collaboration, empathy, and effective communication is important for other roles discussed in subsequent modules.
Week 3: Upon understanding the course and the role of the nurse, module three introduces students to the population served. The topic emphasizes community assessment strategies and how to identify the needs of populations. This topic exposes students to the actual environment where community health nurses work. Using the think, pair, and share strategy, the students will identify the challenges facing communities and risks that necessitate the services of nurses and other healthcare workers.
Week 4: Certain risk factors in the community make some populations more vulnerable than others. After building a broad picture of the health problems of communities, students will narrow the problems to specific populations. Using the project-based learning strategy, the student will learn how to address the risk factors of vulnerable populations and other key features like interprofessional collaboration.
Week 5: The topic of discussion this week is monitoring trends and risks in the community. Based on the knowledge from weeks 3 and 4, the students will observe how the well-being of communities is monitored by international organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO). This topic allows students to observe how other communities in different countries are affected.
Week 6: This week focuses on disease prevention and the impact of different prevention strategies in communities. Throughout weeks 1 to 5, students will have learned about the problems facing communities and common diseases prioritized during population health control. The students will understand how primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention strategies are implemented to improve population health outcomes. Strategies like problem-based learning and case studies will be utilized to improve understanding.
Week 7: As discussed earlier, the sole focus of community health is the prevention of diseases and the improvement of health outcomes through education. This week will expand the student’s knowledge on the prevention of illness through health education. The students will learn effective measures to disseminate health education to top communities and specific interventions to address challenges faced by vulnerable populations. The simulation-based learning strategy will be utilized to ensure students gain skills in educating communities and collaborating with other healthcare teams and communities during health education.
Week 8: The last part of the course discusses the investigation of disease outbreaks. This topic combines knowledge of all the modules to enable students to understand disease outbreaks, affected communities, at-risk individuals, investigation processes, and prevention/treatment strategies. The key concept of this module is the role of the community health nurse during pandemics and the evidence-based strategies for preventing spread.
Student-centered learning is an approach that gives students control over the content and learning method during the learning process (Billing & Halstead, 2016). This method replaces the traditional teacher-centered learning that makes instructors active participants. The eight weekly modules in the community health nursing course utilize active learning strategies that promote autonomy and active learning of students. In week 1, the key concept is the discussion of the history and the evolving role of community health nurses. Using interactive lectures and group discussions, the students will spend more time discussing the content rather than listening to the instructor. Week two’s key concept deals with the attributes of community health nurses and their impact on communities. Student-centered learning is promoted through the utilization of the question-answer session with a guest interview panel. The students will be able to ask experts questions regarding the role of community health nurses and brainstorm the perceived key features of nurses that work in the community setting.
Week 3 of the course teaches students about community assessment and the think, pair, and share strategies used to improve learning. The students will be engaged in discussing the risks in their communities and share findings with their colleagues and the instructor. Improving the engagement of students is important during learning because it improves their attitudes and promotes the ignition of strong enthusiasm for learning (Billing & Halstead, 2016). In week 4, student-centered learning is promoted through project-based learning. This strategy will ensure that students actively engage in identifying vulnerable communities and interact with the community to understand their healthcare concerns. The students will gain essential skills of assessment, communication, and collaboration through this learning strategy. During week 5, student-centered learning will be promoted through the utilization of concept mapping and learner groups. This strategy will help students to visualize concepts and it will promote critical thinking and reflective practice.
A student-centered classroom cannot be developed without open communication and trust. In week 6, the instructor will promote learning by introducing students to case studies and problem-based learning. The students will be allowed to ask questions and given time to research communicable diseases and their prevention strategies. Additionally, the utilization of case studies will promote active learning, team-based activities, and the ability of the student to deal with open-ended problems (Billing & Halstead, 2016). The seventh week will see students discuss openly the impact of health education on communities and vulnerable groups. Using open communication and simulation-based learning, the students will take time to share their findings and seek clarification. In week 8, the students will learn about managing outbreaks and evidence-based protocols for the prevention of spread. The instructor will ask the students to discuss experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and lecture with a video presentation. Collaborative learning approaches in this module will ensure students develop communication skills and teach each other about disease outbreak control.
Professional Standards and Guidelines
The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (2008) have been selected for this discussion.
See attached Table 1
Alignment of Weekly Key Concepts to Overview
A great way of starting the teaching process is appreciating the role that a course overview plays in higher education. The course overview introduces the main ideas of the course and highlights the topics or concepts covered. The key concept discussed in week 1 is the history and the evolving role of community health nurses. This concept aligns with the course overview because it is discussed under the topic of the history of community health nursing. In week 2, the key concept is the characteristics of community health nurses which will be covered under the purpose of community health nurses. Week 3 of the course emphasizes population health assessment and identification of risks. The course outline mentions the topic of community assessment which will ensure students gain knowledge about assessment strategies and risk identification. During week 4, the key concept is vulnerable populations and risk factors among these groups. The topic of emerging trends in community health provides an in-depth analysis of vulnerable groups and their specific problems.
The course overview mentions the topic of monitoring trends and risks in the community. In week 6, the student will learn how to monitor social and behavioral data and the role of international organizations like WHO in promoting the health of communities. During week 7, the key emphasized concept is health education and it aligns with the topic of providing education mentioned in the course outline. Additionally, the course outline is based on the key aspect of health education which drives community health interventions. Lastly, week 8 focuses on managing pandemics and evidence-based protocols for the prevention of spread. This concept aligns with the topic of outbreak control identified in the course outline.
Course Outline Relevance
A well-planned course outline serves as a tool to inspire the student to invest their time and efforts toward success. Billings and Halstead (2016) explain that the course outline blends expectations, competencies, outcomes, and the means to ignite learning. The instructors use this tool to plan to teach and avoid tackling ideas outside the main topic. The instructor can emphasize the key areas of learning and streamline teachings toward achieving the expected outcome. The course outline is important in guiding the organization of content and ensuring the flow of ideas is well understood by the students. This organization allows students to relate previous information with new knowledge and this promotes mastery of content (Bastable, 2019). Lastly, the course outline facilitates learning by presenting students with an overview of what to expect. Students can learn ahead and prepare questions before learning.
Interactive lecture. This learning strategy is utilized in week 1 and it involves breaking the class once or severally to allow students to interact with learning material and ask questions (Afrasiabifar & Asadolah, 2019). Using this strategy, the student is allowed to ask questions and seek clarification in unclear areas. Interactive lectures are good at meeting the needs of auditory learners that may not have time to review notes after class.
Group discussion. Discussions are important in learning because they help students to process information. This strategy encourages all students to participate in learning and collaborate with others in finding solutions to complex cases. The strategy promotes active learning and is observed to improve reflective nursing and retrieval of information (Kulkarni et al., 2018). Group discussions can be used to meet the needs of auditory and kinesthetic learners through the performance of activities and presentation of findings in class.
Concept maps. Concept maps are based on the constructivist learning theory and are based on the way the student thinks and sees relationships between concepts (Yue et al., 2017). Concept maps can take forms like charts, tables, flowcharts, or graphics. This learning strategy is crucial in meeting the needs of visual learners, although it can also benefit other categories. Concept mapping allows students to challenge their minds and encourages recall during practice.
Implementation of Learning Strategies
Concept maps work very well for content that has visual elements and when understanding the relationship between things is important. To implement the concept mapping strategy in class, the first step will involve identifying the concept. For example, I will select the topic of COVID-19 and inform students to formulate a concept map about treatment and management. I will ask the students to go through the lecture notes on outbreak investigation and management to understand what is needed. Lastly, the students will demonstrate the relationship between concepts in a one-page PowerPoint presentation.
Assessment of Learning Needs and Styles
Learning styles can be categorized into auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and reading/writing (VARK) (Bastable, 2019). The predominant learning style in concept maps is visual because it involves a visual representation of information. Concept maps can take different forms including flow charts, timelines, tables, or graphics. Concept maps are powerful because they help students see the big picture and the connection between ideas (Yue et al., 2017). Additionally, the learner can relate concepts starting from high-level points to small connections.
Clinical Reasoning and Self-Reflection Skills
Clinical reasoning is a process observed to utilize formal and informal thinking to analyze and evaluate information (Griffits et al., 2017). Self-reflection is a skill that allows an individual to understand who they are, their values, and what they feel. Concept mapping is a strategy that can enhance clinical reasoning and self-reflection because they describe information and help students see things in the big picture. Knowing the big picture enables the student to make meaningful connections and allows them to remember things easily. Concept maps improve the student’s ability to gather information, analyze it, and make inferences from the data (Radwan et al., 2018). Students can reflect on what was learned in class and make connections between concepts during their clinical practice.
Key Concept Alignment with Professional Standards and Guidelines
|Weekly Key Concept||Competency||Alignment Explained|
|Week 1: Discuss the history and the evolving role of the community health nurse||Essential I: Liberal Education for Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice
|This concept involves the student’s ability to know the history of CHN and what it entails. A solid liberal education on community health provides the cornerstone of practice (AACN, 2008).|
|Week 2: Identify the attributions of a community health nurse and the impact it can have on a community.||Essential VIII: Professionalism and Professional Values
|The concept deals with values and attributes of professional nursing practice (AACN, 2008).|
|Week 3:Explain how to assess the population, evaluate, and identify health risks in your community.||Essential VII: Clinical Prevention and Population Health
|This concept emphasizes awareness of population health needs and how risk identification is important for the health of the public (AACN, 2008).|
|Week 4: Define the vulnerable population and address the risk factors among the vulnerable population.||Essential VII: Clinical Prevention and Population Health
|This week’s concept aligns with AACN essential VII because both deal the health of populations (AACN, 2008). The student will learn about population health at the individual and community level.|
|Week 5: Learn how to monitor community health, social and behavioral data, and the impact it has on the community.
Identify health trends and world health organizations.
|Essential IX: Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice
|Essential IX discusses the general practice of nurses and how they are prepared to practice to monitor and treat all patient populations (AACN, 2008).|
|Week 6: Discuss and teach disease prevention and its impact on the community.||Essential VII: Clinical Prevention and Population Health
|This week’s concept also continues to expand on disease prevention and how to create behavioral change within the community (AACN, 2008).|
|Week 7: Learn the impact of educating the community and vulnerable population on risk factors.||Essential VI: Interprofessional Communication and Collaboration for Improving
Patient Health Outcomes
|The key concept in this week is health education to improve patient health outcomes. The students will learn about communicating preventive approaches and interprofessional collaboration strategies (AACN, 2008).|
|Week 8: Identify the role of the community nurse during a pandemic and understand the evidence-based protocols for prevention of spread.||Essential III: Scholarship for Evidence-Based Practice
|Professional nursing practice involves the utilization of EBP to improve patient outcomes (AACN, 2008). during this week, the students will gain knowledge on the EBP protocols for disease prevention and treatment.|
Afrasiabifar, A., & Asadolah, M. (2019). Effectiveness of shifting traditional lecture to interactive lecture to teach nursing students. Nursing Education and Research, 37(1), e07. https://doi.org/10.17533/udea.iee.v37n1a07
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008). The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice.
Billings, D.M., & Halstead, J. A. (2016). Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty. [Western Governors University].
Boswell, C., Sanchez, L., & Powers, R. (2021). QSEN competencies: How well are we doing?. Nursing Management, 52(4), 49–53.
Griffits, S., Hines, S., Moloney, C., & Ralph, N. (2017). Characteristics and processes of clinical reasoning in nurses and factors related to its use: A scoping review protocol. JBI Evidence Synthesis, 15(12), 2832-2836. https://doi.org/10.11124/jbisrir-2016-003273
Radwan, A., Abdelnasser, A., Elaraby, S., & Talaat, W. (2018). Correlation between concept maps and clinical reasoning for final year medical students at the faculty of medicine-Suez Canal University. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 111(suppl_1), hcy200-108. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/qjmed/hcy200.108
Yue, M., Zhang, M., Zhang, C., & Jin, C. (2017). The effectiveness of concept mapping on development of critical thinking in nursing education: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nurse Education Today, 52, 87-94.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2017.02.018
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