Nursing Engagement with a Distant, Rural, Underserved Community
Sustaining Partnerships Over Time
Urban nursing schools sometimes have difficulty providing their students with rural, culturally diverse nursing experiences that include caring for underserved populations. Moreover, establishing and maintaining ongoing relationships between urban and rural nursing schools and between urban schools of nursing and rural clinical agencies present additional obstacles for provision of rural, culturally diverse experiences with the underserved. Short-term immersion programs are an alternative to addressing these issues. This article describes the use of faculty and student immersions to sustain long-distance, culturally diverse experiences with underserved people through collaborative relationships.
Findings include the importance of personal relationship development based on respect and the integration of consistent personnel; the employment of cultural humility; ongoing reflective learning; and the development of a strong succession plan.
Conclusions include the recommendations that future clinical immersion experiences be inter-professional through inviting medical and social work students to participate from both the urban and rural locations. Additionally, given that telehealth is important to maintaining contact with patients in both urban and rural challenging environments, developing different distance telehealth simulations for student engagement in the rural area is essential for nursing curriculums. Long term educational opportunities can be negotiated through the development of a contract with clinical agencies in rural underserved areas.
Keywords: rural, culturally diverse, underserved, nursing education, immersion
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