A Case Study of a Service-Learning Project in a Nurse-managed Clinic for Homeless and Indigent Individuals

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This chapter describes the implementation of two service-learning courses within the setting of a primary-care clinic for homeless and indigent individuals. The two courses are a campus-wide Introduction to Community Service and a Community Health Nursing Practicum. Although these two courses have different learning outcomes, they both address the primarygoals of service-learning, including (1) developing students' understanding about the responsibility of citizenship and preparing students for effective roles in society; (2) improving students' communication skills, problem-solving skills, and project-specific skills; (3) enhancing students' self-esteem and sense of social reality; and (4) providing an interdisciplinary perspective (Kendall and Associates 1990). The sections that follow describe the setting that the two service-learning courses share, the university-wide course, and the community health nursing practicum. Common issues faced in both courses that are discussed include reflective learning practices, community/client impact, communicating expectations to the student and the site personnel, collaboration to accomplish both service and learning outcomes, and practical issues associated with service-learning in a clinic for the homeless and indigent.