COMMUNITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH NURSING AT FGCU

Marieb College’s School of Nursing prepares nurses designed to be caring scholar clinicians for professional practice. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and other nursing programs are guided by the leadership of Dr. Anne Nolan, who is Director of the School of Nursing. Dr. Mitchell L. Cordova joined Florida Gulf Coast University as Professor and Dean of the Marieb College of Health & Human Services in July 2011.

He now serves as Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management. He said, “The educational experience at Florida Gulf Coast University is a lot broader than just taking classes, getting grades and moving on to the next course,” said Cordova. “It’s a rich environment where students are shaped culturally, socially and civically through rigorous degree programs that lead to competitive employment.

Ultimately, it involves matching the needs of the local economy with our students’ skills to create a thriving society. We strive to provide that experience now, but this new approach will allow better synergies and efficiencies.”

Community nursing is a growing nursing specialty area as the health care system shifts to the creation of preventative primary health care services. Graduates are prepared to assume important positions in the improvement of client health outcomes. The nursing curriculum is founded on the principles of critical thinking, communication, health promotion, cultural connectedness and adherence to professional standards.

Dr. Susan Young is the lead instructor for the Community and Public Health class at FGCU for senior-level students. Clinical rotations meet at the Florida Department of Health at Collier County, NCH Wound Care Center, home health agencies and school health sites.

Students use the Community-As-Partner model first developed by authors Anderson & McFarlane. Relevant health statistics are collected and analyzed to identify health disparities. Summaries are utilized and developed to form the basis of a comprehensive Community Health Assessment. Information is gathered and organized, using guidelines developed over time, to describe health concerns. Informant interviews, participant observation and data analysis allow students to draw conclusions about the state of a community’s health.

At the end of the semester, students take a fascinating guided tour of agribusiness sites in Immokalee and surrounding farms. The fields in South Florida enjoy nearly year-round growth and harvest activity.
Farmworkers have unique disparity and healthcare risks related to the heat and sun. Greenhouse farming and drip irrigation maximize water conservation. GPS navigation is used for distribution of pest control
and fertilizers.

The effects of how our food supply is handled can be seen in the distribution of diseases in the community. Collaboration with universities like FGCU help growers stay abreast of threats to food. By gaining a deeper understanding of where food is grown, student nurses can pursue a variety of post-graduate opportunities locally.

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