Servicelearning can be understood as a research based form of learning whichcombines classroom instruction and meaningful community service.There are a number of community health promotion services that arecentral to this form of learning that students can utilize. One suchinstitution is The Australian National Preventive Health Agency(Promoting a Healthy Australia, n.d). Also Known as Promoting aHealthy Australia is a community health promotion agency which waslaunched on January 1, 2011 following the enactment of the AustralianNational Preventive Health Agency Act 2010 which sought to providecountrywide capacity towards preventive health policy and programs(Promoting a Healthy Australia, n.d).
ANPHA’smission statement clearly describes its role in health promotionacross the whole of Australia. The mission states “To be thecatalyst for strategic partnerships, including the provision oftechnical advice and assistance to all levels of government and inall sectors, to promote health and reduce health risk andinequalities, and to initiate actions to promote health across theentire Australian community”(Promoting a Healthy Australia). Toachieve this mission, ANPHA provides policy leadership and creatingcollaborations with commonwealth, state and regional government,industry and primary health providers, and community health promotionorganizations (Promoting a Healthy Australia, n.d). To reachcommunities, the agency participate and promote evidence basedprograms that seek to address specific health issues. These issuesinclude smoking cessation, alcohol and drug abuse, and healthy eatingbehaviours to reduce obesity. Through collaboration with otherstakeholders, it ensures it reaches the communities at grassroots.
Servicelearning is a very important way of learning for nursing students.There are various benefits that a student nurse can acquire throughservice learning including gaining academically, professionally aswell as individually (Poirrier, 2001). Service learning helps orenhances a student’s understanding of the class topic as itintegrates theory and practice. The gain-hands-on experience that astudent has through service learning can open an opportunity for aninternship or even a job thereafter. Besides, service learning helpstudents explore and strengthen their values and beliefs throughpractical interaction with the community and with their practices(Morris & Faulk, 2012). They can therefore work on these valuesand beliefs. Through working with different cultures in thecommunity, a student is able to learn and understand working withdiverse cultures. Consequently, a student is able to learn moreregarding social issues and their causes, equipping the student withthe necessary experience to handle such issues in future during hisor her career as a nurse (Emerson, 2007). Service learning also helpsa student develop and improve important skills like communication,team work as well as leadership. A student in service learningimproves his or her ability to deal with ambiguity, become open tochange and also become flexible-which are important aspects in thenursing profession. Ultimately, service learning helps a studentconnect with community members and professionals, enhancing theirknowledge on the job and they can later benefit from the network thatthey establish through service learning.
Inmy next service learning I have three main personal objectives that Iintend to achieve. They include
To be able to understand how to deal with individuals who do not understand English language.
To understand participate in nurse leadership during my learning so that I can gauge my skills and abilities in leadership.
To engage in community development projects to gain firsthand experience on issues concerning such projects.
Servicelearning is an important aspect not only for students, but also forfaculty and the community at large.
ANPHA(n.d). Promotinga healthy Australia.Retrievedhttp://www.anpha.gov.au/internet/anpha/publishing.nsf/Content/home-1(Accessed 18 May 2014).
Emerson,R. (2007). Nursing education in the clinical setting. St.Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier.
Morris,A. & Faulk, D. (2012). Transformative learning in nursing aguide for nurse educators. New York: Springer.
Poirrier,G. (2001). Service learning: curricular applications in nursing.Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.