Service-Learning: Curricular Applications in Nursing G. Poirrier; Sudbury, MA and New York: Jones and Bartlett ft National League for Nursing; 2001.
Service has long been associated with the nursing profession. Florence Nightingale's work caring for poor and underserved people in London in the 1860s is credited as the foundation of modern service in the profession. Lillian WaId established public health nursing through her work with poor immigrants in the settlements of New York at the end of the 19th century, and since then, the nursing profession has remained closely tied to service. This is evident in the 1965 definition by the American Nurses Association (ANA), which defined nursing as "a helping profession and as such provides services that contributes to the health and well being of people" (p. 106). The recent emphasis on community-based care in nursing curricula is further evidence of the central role service plays in nursing today.
Despite the close relationship between the nursing profession and service, it is important to understand that just because an educational experience provides service, it does not necessarily meet the definition of service-learning. Communitybased nursing and service-learning are not synonymous. Ia fact, service and learning may, and often do, interface in many ways. Service-Learning: Curricular Applications in Nursing addresses these points of interface, as well as the distinction between traditional clinical education and service-learning.
This book provides a comprehensive introduction that informs educators of the value of service-learning to nursing education, practice, and research. It also explains service-learning concepts within the context of community-based nursing and provides concrete examples of how to incorporate service-learning activities into professional nursing curricula. College administrators, nursing department deans, and faculty are the authors of the chapters, which focus on designing and implementing eervice-learning activities in nursing education. Most contributors are from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
In the first three chapters, the authors outline the relationship between servicelearning and community-based nursing and provide a comprehensive explanation of how service-learning enhances nursing education, practice, and research. Chapter four provides an outstanding overview of service-learning by outlining its theoretical and philosophical underpinnings. This chapter considers many complex concepts and converts them to an overview that is easily comprehensible, yet comprehensive. Another strength of the book stems from the many voices represented by the contributing authors, including college administrators, department heads, and faculty.
The inclusion of a broad range of clinical areas, populations, and sites is another positive aspect of this book. Some of the topics are particularly creative in incorporating service-learning into nursing education and research. In one chapter, Schaffer and Peterson describe how they teach research and group leadership skills through service-learning projects. This particular model reflects careful attention to the tenets of service-learning. In another chapter, White describes service-learning with vulnerable populations, providing wonderful detail for novice educators desiring concrete, nuts-and-bolts detail of how to incorporate service-learning into clinical activities.
There is some repetition in the book, particularly evident in several chapters addressing the history of service-learning, and some chapters do not solidly relate the tenets of service-learning to the topic of community-based nursing being discussed. In addition, although communitybased nursing is not synonymous with service-learning, some chapters describe community-based learning experiences as if they represent the pedagogy of servicelearning. However, for the most part, the book presents a strong conceptual and practical introduction to various curricular issues related to using service-learning in nursing education.
This book is an exciting tool for administrators in higher education, nursing department administrators, and faculty interested in an introduction to servicelearning. The level of detail provides individuals involved at various levels of education a helpful guide to service-learning in nursing curricula. Service-learning is a powerful pedagogy, which, when used in concert with community-based nursing, creates enormous benefits for the community partners, students, and faculty. The importance of service-learning is captured in the writings of Edelman (1994):
We were taught that the world had a lot of probleme;...that we were able and obligated to struggle and change them;.. .that extra intellectual and material gifts brought with them the privilege of sharing with others lese fortunate and that service is the rent each of us pays for living. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time (p. 6)
- American Nurses Association. (1965). American Nurses Association first position paper on education for nurses. American Journal of Nursing, 12. 106-111.
- Edelman, M. W. (1994). The measure of our success: A letter to my children and yours. Boston: Beacon Press.