Application of an innovative, autonomous, creative teaching modality through service-learning in a community-health nursing course

Susan G. Williams, Suzanne Bihan


Nursing faculty continue to find themselves challenged to meet student needs by the increasing student enrollment numbers and increasing faculty workloads without simultaneously increasing resources. The responsibility to meet student needs rests on the nursing faculty. It is therefore increasingly important that nursing faculty implement teaching modalities to meet student and patient needs. This article demonstrates faculty’s use of service-learning as an effective, innovative teaching modality to meet increasing student, patient, and community needs without additional resources. The authors seek to differentiate between service learning and contracted clinical experiences in order to enable nurse educators to use service learning as a teaching modality. The authors describe the process of using service learning with nursing process in this course. Nursing assessment is built into the project as a “windshield survey”. A literature review was conducted seeking to understand other uses of service learning in education and validate the authors’ experiences. This three-credit hour lecture and one credit hour clinical course has yielded unique and interesting service learning projects that positively impact their communities. The students work with cohorts of all races, ethnicities and cultures throughout the lifespan.  Service-learning opportunities assist in the availability and accessibility of health care to safety net facilities and vulnerable populations who may not otherwise receive health care screening or treatment.  Faculty in nursing and other health disciplines will likely appreciate the innovation, creativity, and autonomy afforded this modality of outreach.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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