Public health nursing is a challenging course to teach. Most baccalaureate nursing (BSN) students enter nursing school with a vision of acute care nursing practice. In contrast, they often have little previous exposure to the nurse’s role in public health. When adult learners do not readily understand why content is important to their future career, it can be difficult to engage them in the learning process. This assignment uses films to capture students’ interest in public health so they can develop a framework for concepts in this area of nursing and explore the nurse’s role in this specialty.
Films demonstrating specific nursing skills and patient encounters are an established component of nursing curricula. Feature films have also been successfully integrated into nursing courses. Hyde and Fife (2005) used the theory of constructivism to integrate feature films into a psychopathology nursing course. Parker and Faulk (2004) used Mezirow’s adult learning theory to guide them in the development of a feature film activity to engage RN-to-BSN students in a family systems course. This assignment uses an array of film resources outside of nursing and feature films to connect students to public health concepts.
The Table lists films from a variety of sources that are appropriate for public health nursing. In this assignment, the films are viewed in class following a mini-lecture on the content that the film activity is designed to explore. Each film ranges in length from a minimum of 14 minutes to a maximum of 60 minutes.
Table: Films for Public Health Nursing Theory Course
Students are presented with a film activity guide that includes the corresponding course objectives and a variety of activities to complete and discuss based on the film content. For example, after watching the Discovery Channel dramatization, The Plague, students create both an epidemiological triangle and a web of causality depicting the spread of the bubonic plague as portrayed in the film. This is followed by a class discussion on the difference in the two models and the usefulness of these illustrations in the study of epidemiology. The film activities are a graded class activity.
These film assignments successfully engage BSN students in the public health course content. The films used in the course are updated annually based on contemporary issues in public health.
Prior to the introduction of films in this course, students’ comments included statements such as “content is not really nursing” and “boring and dry material.” After the inclusion of the film activities, students’ comments included “I really enjoyed the films; they reinforced the course content” and “interesting combination of lectures, videos, and class discussions.”
The film activities will continue to be developed and integrated into the public health nursing course. There are many resources for interesting films, and the activities and assignments can be easily adapted to contemporary issues. Students’ interest in public health has increased, and several students from recent graduating classes have accepted a public health position after graduation.
Leigh Hart, PhD, ARNP, FNP-BC
- Hyde, N.B. & Fife, E. (2005). Innovative instructional strategy using cinema films in an undergraduate nursing course. ABNF Journal, 16, 95–97.
- Parker, F.M. & Faulk, D. (2004). Lights, camera, action: Using feature films to stimulate emancipatory learning in the RN to BSN student. Nurse Educator, 29, 144–146. doi:10.1097/00006223-200407000-00008 [CrossRef]
Films for Public Health Nursing Theory Course
|Film||Corresponding Course Content||Source|
|The Plague||Public health history and epidemiology||http://shop.history.com/detail.php?p=69286&v=history|
|The Great Plague||Public health history and epidemiology||http://ffh.films.com/id/1636/The_Great_Plague.htm|
|The Most Dangerous Woman in America (Typhoid Mary)||Public health history and epidemiology||http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/typhoid/|
|Katrina: Nature at Its Worst, Nursing at Its Best||Disaster response and nursing profession||http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPSbDq2NjDg&feature=PlayList&p=E76ABCBE3966759A&index=3|
|Radiological Terrorism: Just in Time Training for Hospital Clinicians||Disaster preparedness||http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/justintime.asp|
|Homeless in America||Vulnerable populations and program planning||http://www.homelessinamericamovie.com/|
|Big as Life: Obesity in America||Vulnerable populations and program planning||http://ffh.films.com/id/5155/Big_As_Life_Obesity_in_America.htm|
|Rx for Survival||Politics and economics||http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/rxforsurvival/|