Environmental Safety Preparation for Community-Based Nursing Educational Experiences: Measurable Indices

Authors

  • Shirley V. Carter Ed.D., R.N.,

    1. Shirley V. Carter is an Associate Professor, Mary C. Carroll is an Assistant Professor, and Evelyn R. Hayes is a Professor at the University of Delaware College of Nursing.
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  • Mary C. Carroll Ph.D., R.N.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Shirley V. Carter is an Associate Professor, Mary C. Carroll is an Assistant Professor, and Evelyn R. Hayes is a Professor at the University of Delaware College of Nursing.
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  • Evelyn R. Hayes Ph.D., R.N.

    1. Shirley V. Carter is an Associate Professor, Mary C. Carroll is an Assistant Professor, and Evelyn R. Hayes is a Professor at the University of Delaware College of Nursing.
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Address correspondence to Mary Carroll, College of Nursing, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716-3710

Abstract

Abstract Cities, formerly the hub of cultural activities and entertainment, are now more often associated with crime statistics and poverty. Students' emotional comfort and safety must therefore be prime considerations in planning community-based nursing education. This study piloted an instrument that promises to be useful in labeling situations that affect an individual's comfort level in an urban setting. Questions that guided the study included: (1) Does the Environmental Comfort Scale (ECS) score vary with the repondents' residential zone (urban = 1, suburban = 2, rural = 3)? (2) Is the instrument (Environmental Comfort [Fear] Scale) reliable? A one-shot, one-group, pre-experimental design was employed. Participants were self-selected from a junior baccalaureate nursing class (N= 79) that was a predominantly suburban-bred, relatively privileged population. The ECS contained nine specific environmental-situation items that could be construed as potentially threatening to safety. Respondents were to indicate on a five-point Likert scale the extent to which they would be fearful in each situation; 1 = least fearful and 5 = most fearful. Findings showed practically no difference in responses by residential zone and suggest a need for item refinement and a need to lengthen the tool to improve alpha coefficients. Further, the increasing demand for measurable outcomes underscores the need for continued work on instruments to produce such data. The deinstitutionalization of health care from contained grounds to uncontained community-based settings makes it imperative that nursing education attend to the challenges of safety education.

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