Jump to content

Social Justice lacking in nursing education? Advice?

Posted
by rom12345 rom12345 (New) New

Hi,

I recently started at an accelerated program for second degree bachelor students at a small private school in NJ. So far I love it, but I'm concerned that because the program is accelerated I might be missing out on some important learning experiences.

What are some things you would recommend that I can do to enhance my learning? Especially ways to learn more about social justice issues in health care, for example health care as it relates to the LGBT community, immigration, substance abuse and other high risk populations...I feel like my school's curriculum only glances over these issues. Do any other students feel like their school is also lacking in these areas?

A little background on me: I'm particularly interested in public health and like working with marginalized populations. I did a year with HealthCorps where I volunteered at a free health clinic working mostly with undocumented immigrants. I also have experience volunteering for a suicide prevention hotline, an HIV/AIDS hotline, and needle exchanges.

windsurfer8, BSN

Specializes in Psych/Military Nursing. Has 14 years experience.

You are not missing out on anything because you are required to complete the exact same classes a traditional BSN program requires. Your degree will be a BSN. The A is simply the amount of time it takes. Can you please give an example of what you are "missing out on"? If you feel this way then quit the program and retake gen ed classes that you feel you are missing out on.

Try to use specifics and what EXACTLY a traditional BSN student is getting that you are not. If you want to tell your Dean you are not getting the same education as the traditional students. You will need specific examples and not a "feeling".

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

The BSN is an entry-level generalist degree that does not focus on any specific clinical specialty or patient population. It's great that you have already identified a specific focus area for your future nursing practice -- but it's not the job of a BSN program to prepare you to specialize in that or any other particular specialty. You'll need to do that at the graduate level ... or with Continuing Education after you become an RN.

If you want involvement with marginalized populations right now, I recommend doing some volunteer work. You could also choose to focus on marginalized populations (or others that interest you) as you chose focus areas for papers that you write in school. Let the faculty know of your interests and they may let you focus on some of them for your class assignments. Choose projects and patient assignments that interest you, etc.

You'll have lots of opportunities to work with patients who have issues that interest you as you experience various clinical rotations. Keep your eyes open: they are all around you. As a nursing student, you will focus on the nursing care of the patient -- and you will need to devote a lot of time and attention to learn about their physical care as that is what nurses are paid to do. But assessing all of their needs and being their advocate is also a part of nursing and you can/will do that, too. It's just that you need to learn the basic nursing care (which is often physical) before you will be ready to focus on their social issues.

KatieMI, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

I finished "classic" brick-and-mortar BSN program in an area which is (and surrounded by) a golden trough for marginaized populations of almost any kind in the book. There was total of one person in the whole place interested in some of them due to her academic work, and we never had any sort of lectures or something about the subject. Llg is right, it is just very much outside of what a BSN program, accelerated or not, is supposed to teach.

If your university has social work program, you may try to arrange your electives there or just get acquainted with some of SW students. SW programs teach and do much more about marginalized populations because that's the people they mostly deal with. So-called "urban" or "critical access" rural hospitals have to deal more with these populations, so localize where these people mostly live in your area and find out where they seek medical help. In big cities, some hospitals, mostly advanced academic centers, may have programs pointedly aimed at things like surgical gender change or urban HIV among women and children. That also may be quite interesting. So start looking around, volunteering and making connections in ER and publuc health department of your county. You must do a course of "community nursing" for your ABSN, and now it is just the right time for you to arrange for some interesting clinical experience (yes, in 8 cases out of 10 the program will decide where your clinicals are to be, but in 9 out of 10 cases it is totally up to you to make it fascinating).

My diploma program a hundred years ago included a semester "Intro to Sociology" course at the local college (along with our other academic coursework), which covered the populations you mention and more. However, nursing education in general has been watered down a lot since then. There is a lot of content that has to be covered in nursing programs, and a limited amount of time to cover it. There is a constant debate among nursing faculty in any program about "nice to know" vs. "need to know." There's lots of content schools would like to be able to cover, but there just isn't time. If there are any electives built into your accelerated program, taking a sociology course as an elective would be an option. Also, there is plenty of literature available that you are welcome to seek out on your own. You will find that nursing is all about being a self-directed learner. Best wishes!

Wow! I'm appreciating my Public Health class and rotation (at a large state university) so much more reading these posts! We not only spoke about these topics, but were required to do group projects in conjunction with different community organizations to assist them. There was a diverse array, from creating health presentations for refugee groups to assisting school districts with upping vaccination compliance. We also did stuff like simulated disaster scenarios. Heck, some of us even visited a needle exchange...And learned a lot.

Our nursing school had relationships with groups in the community who connected underserved populations with health, food and housing resources. These groups liked to use nursing students as volunteers because we were kind and non-judgmental when we interacted with their clients.

I think social justice dovetails neatly with nursing, and honestly it makes me sad that many programs don't have a public health component. My advice to you, echoing what others have said, is to seek out volunteer opportunities with organizations you admire, or with your local health department. As members and students of the "most trusted profession" we can have a great impact in teaching, sharing resources, and working with our neighbors to make our world a better place.

Wow! I'm appreciating my Public Health class and rotation (at a large state university) so much more reading these posts! We not only spoke about these topics, but were required to do group projects in conjunction with different community organizations to assist them. There was a diverse array, from creating health presentations for refugee groups to assisting school districts with upping vaccination compliance. We also did stuff like simulated disaster scenarios. Heck, some of us even visited a needle exchange...And learned a lot.

Our nursing school had relationships with groups in the community who connected underserved populations with health, food and housing resources. These groups liked to use nursing students as volunteers because we were kind and non-judgmental when we interacted with their clients.

I think social justice dovetails neatly with nursing, and honestly it makes me sad that many programs don't have a public health component. My advice to you, echoing what others have said, is to seek out volunteer opportunities with organizations you admire, or with your local health department. As members and students of the "most trusted profession" we can have a great impact in teaching, sharing resources, and working with our neighbors to make our world a better place.

I'm sure that the OP's program is going to have a public health component, since that is a core content area for BSN programs.