Nursing Students Are Making an Impact
April 27, 2012
College of Nursing students are not waiting until graduation to make an impact in Michigan. With faculty guidance, students from the Community Health and Population Nursing class are taking active roles in promoting and protecting the health of the public. They are doing this through the federally-funded Head Start preschool program and by participating in Legislative Education Day at the capitol.
Promoting Physical Development for Young Children
Michigan State University Nursing Students are working with the Head Start program of Branch Intermediate School District to educate children and their parents on the importance of exercise and nutrition.
The Branch County Head Start serves nearly 300 children from diverse families that face difficult situations, such as homelessness. According to data from the program, almost 2/3 of the children are either overweight or obese.
Students have also teamed up to implement creative solutions to help fight childhood obesity. Some of their projects have focused on working with children to teach them about family meal time, and the importance of staying active.
“In the spring class, it was particularly inspiring to observe the interaction between the Head Start children and the MSU Nursing students,” said Kathy Bappert, MSU Nursing Instructor. “One group taught the children the way different fruits and vegetables help their bodies to grow and be strong. The delivery of the message resonated with the children in a way they could remember.”
Advocating for Elementary Health Education
In February, approximately 60 senior nursing students spent the day at the capitol visiting legislators, educating them on the importance of health education in elementary schools and supporting minimum hours for physical education. The students followed up the visits with e-mails to key legislators on the importance of health education.
“Participating in the Legislative Education Day helps students develop the skills necessary to advocate for the health of populations in partnership with community members,” said Bappert. “Additionally, students are demonstrating several of the competencies established by The Association of Community Health Nursing Educators for the baccalaureate generalist nurse in policy development.”
Two of the competencies students demonstrated through this activity are communicating with stakeholders and policy makers on policy issues, and collaborating with others to influence policy development.