Expanding Urban Learning Experiences For Non-Traditional Students


  • Stella Shiber Ph.D, R.N, C.S.

    1. Stella Shiber is an Associate Dean for Professional Education Programs and Practice, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland.
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Address correspondence to Stella Shiber, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, 525 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205. E-mail: sshiber@son.jhmi.edu


Educating nurses in the motivation and ability to provide appropriate and quality health care to urban inner-city residents with complex and multiple health problems has been a continuing challenge to academic institutions. Recruiting appropriate students and providing meaningful learning experiences is the first of many challenges. Understanding and addressing the many barriers to accessing health services is an important learning outcome. Successful providers with underserved populations have been found to have a strong sense of service to humanity and pride in making a difference and have thrived on the challenges of creatively using limited resources to deal with their patients' complex needs. Establishing a Returned Peace Corps Fellows program and a community health nursing track within the undergraduate program in nursing has provided some successes and additional answers. While studying for a professional degree, the Fellows are placed in a service position to integrate their Peace Corps experiences into new professional learning as it is taking place and to earn a stipend to assist with the cost of their education. This has led to the development of a community health nursing track in the undergraduate program, a combination of required-for credit courses, credit-earning enrichment and independent study experiences, and stipend-earning clinical experiences outside the curriculum.