Creating A Healthy Message:

UW nursing students create multimedia presentations about puberty with area youth

By Vanessa Eisch
Engage Staff

Egan presenting

Talking about pimples and feminine hygiene with middle school students isn't a typical experience for first semester nursing students.

That is, unless you are part of UW clinical nursing instructor Yvette Egan's service learning project. Egan received a 2010 Engage Digital Media Assignment award to help her explore the use of digital storytelling in teaching her nursing students about patient education.

"The students can do anything. They really enjoy a challenge and rise to the challenge that you give to them," Egan explained to a room of UW faculty and staff at December's Engage Digital Media Assignments (DMA) event.

Egan and Cramer presenting

Last semester, 16 first year nursing students worked with a group of 4th and 5th graders in an after-school program at the Allied Drive Community Center to create age-appropriate multimedia projects on body image and puberty.

From hormonal changes to coping with acne, nursing students collaborated with middle school students to select appropriate topics. Together they created self-running, narrated slideshows using PowerPoint and Audacity. The slideshows will be used to teach future students at the community center about the health issues involved in growing up.

DoIT Academic Technology Consultant Ron Cramer worked with Egan and the nursing students on their Engage DMA project. He helped coordinate technical trainings and project development.

Egan presenting

"Given all the moving parts of the assignment -- the nursing students' work with Allied Drive Community Center students, the group work, the technology used for the project, the 4-6 week timeline to get it all done -- I have to say that things went very well," says Cramer.

Nursing students seemed to agree. Egan says she received positive feedback from students, especially regarding the relationships they formed with their younger partners from the community center. Egan says the experience of working with both younger students and peers in the nursing program, was invaluable to student learning.

"In nursing it's all about collaboration. If providers come together and collaborate there's a better outcome for the patient," she explains.

"If I can teach the students how to get along and collaborate that's a great thing."

Egan and Cramer plan to share some of the student projects at this year's Teaching & Learning Symposium on May 25th and 26th.