The College of Nursing serves its community in many ways, including through strategic partnerships that lead to service learning opportunities for its students. The community benefits from the knowledge and skills of the students; the students gain experience and enhance their knowledge in the specific area while continue to grow as citizens and Villanova Nurses.
Villanova University Health Fair
Each year, senior nursing students educate Villanovans about healthy lifestyles and encourage them to celebrate their health through the Villanova University Health Fair. As part of their senior health promotion project, students collaborate with a faculty advisor, nurses from the University Health and Wellness Center, and other health care experts to have a wide representation of health and wellness topics at the fair. Students also seek support from local businesses and Villanova organizations to enhance the event.
Working with the Order of St. Augustine
Nursing faculty and students work with the Order of St. Augustine based on campus. M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN, Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor of Nursing, serves as chairperson of the Health Care Advisory Board for the Augustinians of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova. This committee is charged with making recommendations for policies regarding health care delivery and education to Augustinians in the Eastern Province. Dr. Fitzpatrick is joined by other nursing faculty colleagues on this committee. The committee was actively involved in the planning for the new Monastery and Health Center located on Villanova’s campus. Sophomore students also visit the Health Center for clinical rotations.
Villanova Nursing students are placed in a variety of learning sites such as the Delaplaine McDaniel Elementary School, a public school which serves one of the financially poorest areas in Philadelphia. Students design and implement health classes for over 300 kindergarten through second grade children each clinical day. The nursing students develop teaching materials that are culturally relevant and appropriate for them. Students also meet with eighth graders to help them with health related service learning projects and to talk about nursing. The success of this university-community relationship is widely recognized by the surrounding community.
Graduate students also assist area schools. Nurse anesthesia students run highly successful foods drives that support local food banks.
Serving the Nation and the World
There are experiences open to students that offer unique cultural perspectives to those interested in expanding their knowledge and awareness. During the past several years there have been short term international opportunities in countries such as Spain, Ireland, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Peru. Experiences in Japan and Ireland provided elective credits for students while they studied the culture and health care delivery system of another country. Sites in such places as Nicaragua and Peru provided opportunities for students to apply knowledge and skills learned in health promotion and community health courses in a multicultural setting. This experience also assisted students in examining health care issues in other cultures. Students have taught health promotion classes to members of the community, immunized children in an orphanage, done health assessments on people who have never had a physical exam, taught and demonstrated blood pressure and pulse rate techniques to local health workers and donated much-needed equipment and medications.
Students have also traveled to the Texas-Mexico border for a supplemental clinical experience in parent-child nursing where they worked at a birth center, gained exposure to a different socioeconomic patient group, provided teaching to pregnant women, experienced midwifery clinical practice, observed a “natural” birth in an alternate setting and performed post-partum care on newly delivered mothers. They spent time in a variety of clinics, including an outreach clinic in Mexico.
The College will continue to expand its international and multicultural efforts. With the support of the Connelly-Delouvrier International Scholars Program, additional experiences will be designed to provide a variety of short and long term educational opportunities within the nursing curriculum for select groups of nursing students.