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Nursing students serve Treasure Valley through community projects

Unlike many nursing classes that focus on acute care, Boise State’s Community and Population Health Nursing course introduces students to a whole other side of nursing. Students discover vital roles nurses can play in the community.

They also take on projects in the community using a Service-Learning approach in partnership with Boise State’s Service-Learning program.

“The main objective is learning how to work collaboratively with other community partners and develop interventions that will affect positive change,” Jeannine Suter said. Suter is a clinical assistant professor in the School of Nursing and coordinator for the Community and Population Health Nursing course lab.

Students assess a specific population, identify its strengths and weaknesses and then work in conjunction with the community to come up with a sustainable form of intervention – a reasonable solution that will endure even after students finish the class.

Then, they implement it.

This year, student projects vary from working with the YMCA’s THRIVE program, to helping the Interfaith Sanctuary with their unhoused population, to partnering with the Idaho Youth Ranch’s Hays House for at-risk youth.

Senior Alli Glenn is part of a group focused on mental healthcare. Her group partnered with the Marsing school district to incorporate healthy coping mechanisms for children in sixth to twelfth grades. Their goal was to apply interventions that would reduce the rates of depression in the student population.

Glenn found it hard to read survey responses from students because some “were very serious and hit home,” she said. But she enjoyed working with the school community and said “implementing the project was very successful.”

“The most significant thing I learned was that many people do not know how to cope with their struggles, which is why this community has such a high rate of depression,” Glenn said. “This will help me as a future nurse because it will allow me to look into a patient’s social history and see how I can best benefit them by providing them with proper resources.”