In our program, students develop scientific knowledge to improve understanding of health and factors relevant to promoting health for individuals, families, communities and populations.
During this time they also engage in professional practice experiences which require the application of this knowledge to practice in communities and community settings (see maps-community).
McMaster nursing students have:
- enabled communities to collect and analyse information to support grant applications to fund community projects
- developed health education materials with communities tailored to best meet their needs and preferences
- assisted with language classes (in class practice with newcomers), literacy for children (reading buddy) and with the McQuesten Urban Farm
Student nurses at McMaster complete required courses where they learn in and with communities from the first year through to their final year as a nursing student. Students learn about the health care system, societal trends, culture and the importance of these factors and economics in health for individuals, families, communities and populations. Community health experiences include working with children, youth, older adults, seniors, helping others live well with chronic diseases such as diabetes, mental illnesses or addictions. Collectively, this theoretical knowledge with community experiences help prepare nurses for many roles in community health.
Students who completed Service Learning:
Leah Kelly, year 2: “By working with community members, service learning has helped me improve my interpersonal skills and confidence interacting with others. It also has helped me become more aware of the diverse cultures that exist in my community.”
Sophia Florece, year 2: "Service learning placement has allowed and challenged me to apply the professionalism of nursing into a non-clinical situation. It showed me that nursing is more than just the clinical skills, but rather the communication skills and emotional intelligence that a future nurse needs to develop."
A student who completed Community Professional Practice:
Sydnie Alexander (graduated 2016): "Prior to my community placement with the RPN-BScN program at Mohawk-McMaster, I had not been exposed to community nursing.It was one of my favourite placements and really opened my eyes to how many areas of nursing there are outside of the hospital. Community nursing is particularly important given the direction health care is moving in Ontario. Patients are going to be seen more in their homes and specialized clinics, with hospitals being reserved for only the highest acuity patients. I will be starting my Master of Science in Nursing through a flexible partially online program via UBC Okanagan's campus. My focus is going to be on clinical practice and within that I hope to focus on both public and community health.The path I'm pursuing in my career and academically is a direct result of my community nursing experience.”
A student who completed a global health placement:
Katie Chong, who did a placement in Zambia: “This experience changed me as nurse and as a person. Not only was I able to gain an understanding of this population from a clinical perspective, but I was able to immerse myself into the culture of the village of Macha, and begin to understand how this shaped the population’s health as well as their healthcare.”