Academic Service-Learning in a Baccalaureate Nursing Program
The purpose of the capstone project was to assess the viability of using a service-learning experience as a means to meet course outcome objectives for a baccalaureate nursing program course. A randomized control trial with pre-test-post-test project design was conducted. The pre-test-post-test service-learning survey tool instrument used was developed by Health Professions in Schools in Service to the Nation (HPSLIN, also referred to as HPSISN) (Campus Compact, 2001). The sample population for the project consisted of ( n = 29) senior baccalaureate nursing students enrolled in the final practicum course. Using descriptive statistics and multivariate statistical analysis, no significant differences in the dependent variables of perspective about community based learning, attitude towards community involvement, influence of service-learning, personal reflection on the experience and critical thinking (linked to end GPA and quality improvement project grades) were noted. Qualitative data, a core component of service-learning were not collected. Limitations of the project were the lack of qualitative data from student reflective journals and lack of qualitative data from student focus sessions. Service-learning group qualitative data were not collected due to varying nursing faculty for practicum supervision and varying grading practices for reflective journaling. Planned focus sessions to gather qualitative data were redirected by faculty when open expression of reflection was encouraged thereby hindering collection of anticipated qualitative data.