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Hopkins Gives Rural Students a Taste of Urban Community Nursing

Posted: 2/26/2010

Eight nursing students from rural South Dakota State University (SDSU) got an education in urban community nursing this month, when they visited the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) in Baltimore.

The weeklong trip, scheduled to start on February 7, was delayed when a massive snowstorm crippled the Mid-Atlantic region. After flight delays and cancellations, the group finally arrived -- in time for a second storm.

But Joan Kub, PhD, APHN, BC, an associate professor at the JHUSON's department of community public health, made it work.  With the group of students 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.

Once the worst of the storm was over, 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 Baltimores immigrant community; and spend time with elderly residents of Apostolic Towers.

"I wanted to give the South Dakota students an urban experience with a focus on the African-American and Hispanic populations," said Kub, who is a native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She said that these are target groups these students might otherwise not be exposed to.

"It was an amazing experience," said SDSU nursing instructor Catherine Calhoon, who helped coordinate the trip and traveled to Baltimore with the students.  "It was eye opening."

The visit was part of a student exchange -- last May, Kub, six undergraduates, and a graduate student traveled to South Dakota to experience public health nursing in a rural setting, with a focus on the Native American population.   Hopkins students visited the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a school in the large district of Rapid City, as well as a small school in Elm Springs.