USM Nursing students who select this partnership work in small groups at one of four partnership sites: Trinity Jubilee Center, Center for Wisdom’s Women, Blake Street Towers, and Meadowview Apartments. As students participate in community engagement via weekly blood pressure clinics; they develop trust and relationships with their clients. The clients look forward to seeing the students and seeking their attention and advice. Some just like to have a listening ear to share their stories. As students assess the needs unique to their site, they may also offer medication education, diet and exercise support, smoking cessation information, stress management, and safety promotion. Health referrals are made as needed. Health fairs have been a successful draw at some sites.
The community partnership functions as a clinical experience in community health nursing. Students are expected to demonstrate consistency and ethical behavior to their course partners, instructor, and clients. Participation consists of weekly work at their sites, research outside of class, preparation and communication to set up events and scheduling, self-reflective journaling and resource sharing online at Blackboard. Students may additionally choose to further engage with the community by volunteering at Lewiston health related events such as The Dempsey Challenge, The Great American Smoke Out, or dental screening clinics to name a few examples. Students also demonstrate community engagement by attending special event lectures that help them understand the complexities of the healthcare system, cultural issues, healthcare policy and its effects on our population, health literacy, etc.