The University of Saskatchewan offers unique interprofessional clinical experiences, building the skills of Registered Nurses. One example is the Caring for Kids Where They Live program. Our goal for this program was to establish a learning environment for health science students, within a school district where all partners work to promote the health and wellness of children and youth. We created this initiative to encourage a holistic approach to support nursing students’ development.
This innovative clinical learning experience places a group of seven nursing students in one of three designated schools to complete their pediatric clinical rotation. Throughout the school year, students and a designated nursing faculty member are deployed into the school for a total of 72 hours, over a six week period.
We found the implementation of the
Caring for Kids Where They Live program has resulted in positive student learning experiences, building their skills for when they become RN’s. One of the outcomes includes a heightened awareness about health issues from a social justice perspective. One students’ feedback testifies to the success of her placement and the nursing skills she developed.
In the time I’ve spent at the school, I have learned many things, but what sticks out most in my mind is not all children are as privileged as how I remember growing up. It was different for me to come to the realization toothpaste may not be a priority in a family, or brushing ones teeth would somehow be ignored and regarded as unimportant. I am aware there are people in this city who live in poverty, but perhaps being ignorant was always easier, than really thinking about how it would feel to be one of those people. What I observed in this school clinical rotation are people who are joined to make the lives of each of these students better.
We developed the Caring for Kids Where They Live program to provide an environment in which health science students are able to meet clinical competencies and apply knowledge learned. We believe the skills they develop while in this clinical rotation builds confidence in working with children and youth, in turn, making them stronger Registered Nurses as they enter the work force.