City Nurse, Country Nurse

City Nurse, Country Nurse

By Sara Michael

South Dakota nursing students visit Baltimore for urban nursing experience

“Snowmageddon 2010” didn’t stop these visiting students from getting an education in urban community nursing.

Nursing experiences in rural South Dakota and urban Baltimore couldn’t be more different, but through student exchange visits, groups from the two areas can see how the other side lives.”I wanted to give the South Dakota students an urban experience with a focus on the African-American and Hispanic populations,” said Joan Kub, PhD, APHN, BC, an associate professor in the depart-ment of community public health and a native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “These are population groups the South Dakota students might not otherwise be exposed to.”

In February, Kub hosted a group of eight nursing undergraduate students from South Dakota State University (SDSU). The visit was part of a student exchangelast May, Kub and seven Hopkins nursing students had traveled to South Dakota to experience public health nursing in a rural setting, particularly among the Native American population.

February’s weeklong trip to Baltimore was delayed, and the schedule shaken up, after a massive snowstorm crippled the Mid-Atlantic region. After flight delays and cancellations, the group finally arrived in time for a second storm.

But Kub made it work. When the students were stuck in her house, she arranged conference calls with some of the local speakers she had planned to visit, giving the students an overview of some of Baltimore’s communities.

The group was able to explore some of the city; visit the Baltimore City needle exchange program; provide health teaching at DaySpring Programs, which provides substance abuse services to Baltimore families; visit the International Rescue Committee, which serves Baltimore’s immigrant community; and spend time with elderly residents of Apostolic Towers.

Before the trip, SDSU nursing instructor Catherine Calhoon, who helped coordinate the trip and traveled to Baltimore with the students, said that her students had been preparing by researching topics such as African-American health and health disparities. “Being exposed to those cultures will really help them,” she said. “I think every student should have some sort of away experience in college. There’s so much more learned in that experience.”

Despite the weather frustrations, “We did the best that we could,” said Kub, “and I really think they still had a good experience.”

“It was amazing,” Calhoon said, adding that it was “definitely eye-opening.”

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