ISU nursing students get dose of reality in ‘The Neighborhood’
October 8, 2008
Welcome to The Neighborhood.
A virtual, Web-based learning platform designed to enhance nursing education, distributed by Pearson Health Science, The Neighborhood is currently being beta-tested by the Idaho State University School of Nursing (ISUSN), and the diagnosis is favorable.
“Using the program is the perfect solution to help familiarize students with families and communities while they are learning fundamental nursing skills,” said Nancy Renn, PhD, RN, assistant director for undergraduate programs at ISUSN. “In the classroom, we can’t really present the myriad complexities involved in treating patients, and The Neighborhood lets them actually experience the multiple problems and nuances that go into patient care.”
The Neighborhood consists of virtual families and institutions, featuring a diverse population of 37 characters. The interrelated stories, enhanced with video clips, photos, biographical information, and medical records, reflect the health care issues and illnesses represented in homes, community agencies, outpatient centers, clinics, and hospital settings. Visitors to The Neighborhood can also learn pertinent information through The Neighborhood News newspaper.
Stories are introduced over three semesters; in the fourth semester students have access to the accumulated narratives. Students access the stories on a week-to-week schedule, and instructors use the evolving stories as the basis for classroom and field assignments.
“I think this is a really good way to introduce us to understanding how people live; the individual stories give me a way to personally relate to a patient’s medical history,” said Michelle Robertson, a junior in the ISU bachelor of science in nursing program. “Instead of just being presented with a scenario in the classroom, The Neighborhood provides in-depth information and helps us get a real feel for patients’ circumstances and needs.”
ISUSN, one of nine U.S. nursing schools currently beta testing The Neighborhood, will be using the program for the 2008-2009 academic year, with faculty, staff, and students providing Pearson Health Science feedback on the product. An additional eight beta sites will be added in the spring of 2009.
The Neighborhood was developed by Jean Giddens, PhD, professor of nursing at the College of Nursing at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
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