Use of Service Learning to Increase Master’s-Level Nursing Students’ Understanding of Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities

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Abstract

Introduction: It is important for graduate-level nursing students to be competent in the issues involved in the social determinants of health and health disparities and have the tools to address them as graduates. Method: As part of a nursing workforce diversity program, master’s-level nursing students were required to participate in a service learning project exposing them to an issue not directly linked to health—long bus rides for students as a result of school consolidations—to achieve educational goals and objectives while providing a service to an advocacy agency. Results: Eighteen students completed the project, providing the advocacy agency with firsthand accounts about the impact of long bus rides and in-depth reviews of literature on the topic and laws and regulations of other states. Conclusion: These results further support providing nursing students opportunities to fully engage with multicultural communities to gain a broader understanding of health disparities and social determinants of health.

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