Nusing’s Covid Capstone Project

 – by Sanam Bhakta and Maiana Wise

The mission of the University of Central Oklahoma, Department of Nursing is to provide transformative educational experiences that promote a culture of excellence in the art and science of nursing. That aligns perfectly with what the Student Transformative Learning Record (STLR) offers to UCO!

The traditional undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing at UCO offer dynamic curricula built on a foundation of multi-disciplinary research and scholarly practice that are relevant, futuristic, and responsive to health and healthcare trends. Graduates are lifelong learners prepared to practice with integrity and compassion while enhancing the health of diverse persons and communities.

STLR Logo with RCSA pink and SLCE purple iconsDr. Pam Rollins,  professor in the nursing department, has assigned her students an STLR-tagged assignment for several years. The “Making-a-Difference” Capstone Project is a required assignment for graduation in which students pick their own project topic that revolves around a problem in their community that they would like to solve. Their project includes actually experimenting with different possible solutions. Because the students’ topics are a mixture of community health and health issues, it is tagged in multiple STLR tenets: Research, Creative & Scholarly Activities, and Service Learning & Civic Engagement.

These senior students research and summarize a community problem, issue, concern, or topic to address in their project. Last semester, despite restrictions due to COVID-19, there were 20+ projects that offered solutions to different areas of concern in our community. One example was a student who identified that schools in a rural community did not have a program to address the needs of students with food insecurity at home when school was not in session. The student led an effort to implement a backpack program and worked with other organizations in the community to meet the needs of these families.

Another example was a student’s project to improve access to care for veterans. This student reviewed the implementation of telehealth services for the health concerns of veterans living in rural areas with limited access to healthcare and facilitated improvement in the processes. By working with a variety of community organizations, yet another student advocated for and improved systems to enhance access for veterans to service dogs trained to meet a variety of health and mental health needs in this population.

Dr. Rollins’ overall goal for this assignment was to make her students feel as if they’d accomplished something to genuinely make a difference in their community — that it was not merely just an assignment, but a project they could get truly passionate about and actually improve the health of their community. Mission accomplished!

See more course assignments that are STLR-tagged at https://stlr.uco.edu/activities and click on “Assignments.”

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