Partners in education: The Coalition and Jersey College team up to make an impact

Nursing students at the Jersey College School of Nursing – Jacksonville will soon have a better understanding of maternal and child health issues in the community as part of a partnership between the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition and the Jersey College.

dscn2584A community-based curriculum, which is a required course for all nursing students at Jersey College, incorporates concepts related to social determinants of health, the life course perspective, collective impact, health equity, toxic stress, cultural competence and nursing leadership. The students’ clinical will be held at the Magnolia Project and the Magnolia Project OASIS, an AGAPE Community Health Center and facilitated by experienced maternal child health nurse educators.

Alex Tarabochia, a summer intern with the Coalition and 2014-15 National Health Corps Florida Americorps member who served at the Magnolia Project, laid out the foundation for the course. And with the help of Faye Johnson, executive director of the Coalition; Joy Burgess, associate dean of nursing at Jersey College and a Healthy Start Coalition Board member; and many other health care professionals, the curriculum grew into a 28-hour clinical practicum.

“What’s interesting about this course is that the students can relate directly to what they will be learning,” Joy Burgess said. “Many of our nursing students were the girl in the scenario we will have them delve through, and I think that that is going to entice them to want to learn and pay attention.”

The course is broken up into four sections:

  • Session I: Describes the life course perspective and the social determinants of health and applies those concepts to the practice of maternal child health nursing.
  • Session II: Describes the concepts of collective impact and nursing leadership and applies those concepts to a clinical scenario about a high-risk maternity client.
  • Session III: Describes the concept of toxic stress and practices patient education skills. Students will also learn about safe sleep, breast feeding, mandated reporting and informed consent.
  • Session IV: Allows the students to review the impact that racism, life course theory, social determinants of health and toxic stress have on racial disparities in birth outcomes and infant mortality in Northeast Florida.

After looking at the statistics of infant mortality and the factors that play a huge role in it, the administration at Jersey College quickly supported the collaboration and the new course.

“It is going to be a great experience for the students here and I cannot wait to see how they respond” Campus Administrator Maryanne Moore said.

“When Joy (Burgess) first talked me to about infant mortality, I said ‘no way!’ There was no way that many babies were dying in Duval County. But after meeting with Faye (Johnson) and many other players, I saw that it was a reality, and how important this course is going to be for our students.”

The eight-week course is set to pilot in November. The administration at Jersey College will evaluate the program by surveying the students at the end of the term. They will also compare previous NCLEX exams to see if the grades improved.