NCANS Breakthrough to Nursing Project
Nursing: Seeing & Believing is Achieving
The North Carolina Association of Nursing Students (NCANS) is in the process of forming committees to implement the latest Breakthrough to Nursing (BTN) Project. NCANS plans continued support of the BTN mission established in 1965 by the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) to organize, represent, and mentor students preparing for initial licensure as a registered nurses, as well as those enrolled in baccalaureate completion programs, in becoming practitioners sensitive to the cultural diversity that existing our society. The project promotes the development of skills needed to be responsible, accountable members of the nursing profession who respect the differences and similarities between people, advocate high quality care, utilizing principles of transcultural nursing, and facilitates the development of peer support systems, which enhance recruitment and retention within the nursing profession.
North Carolina Association of Nursing Students
2009-2010 Breakthrough to Nursing Project:
Nursing: Passport To Your Dreams
Established in 1965, the mission of the Breakthrough to Nursing (BTN) project of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) is to organize, represent, and mentor students preparing for initial licensure as registered nurses, as well as those nurses enrolled in baccalaureate completion programs, in becoming practitioners sensitive to the cultural diversity that exists in our society. The project promotes the development of the skills needed to be responsible, accountable members of the nursing profession who respect the differences and similarities between people, advocates high quality care, utilizing the principles of transcultural nursing, and facilitates the development of peer support systems, which enhance recruitment and retention within the nursing profession.
-from the BTN page of the NSNA website (www.nsna.org)
In keeping with the NSNA’s mission, the North Carolina Association of Nursing Students (NCANS) has formed a Breakthrough to Nursing Committee. Focusing on demographic groups that have traditionally underrepresented in the profession of nursing (including but not limited to people of ethnic color, men, second-degree and non-traditional students, people with disabilities and people with few material resources), this committee works to identify and meet the needs of North Carolina students already in nursing or pre-nursing programs, and actively reach out to recruit new students to nursing programs.
The NCANS Breakthrough to Nursing project for the academic year of 2009-2010 will build on last year’s project. This year’s project is called Nursing: Passport to Your Dreams. Nursing students from each NCANS chapter will teach children in elementary, middle and high schools about healthy behaviors and about how nursing can take them wherever they want to go in their life. Student nurses will work with faculty advisors, teachers and community health resources, using the guidelines from NCANS, NSNA and the respective agencies to develop age-appropriate curricula. Topics will include hand-washing, nutrition, physical activity, injury prevention and the dangers of cigarette smoking. Student nurses will also present age-appropriate information about what nurses do and the educational requirements of nursing degrees. The other aspect of the presentations will include the varied career paths you can take as a nurse and the different environments a nurse can work in. This year we are asking NCANS members to complete the 10-4 Challenge. This entails making contact with at least 10 students at an elementary, middle or high school in their area, providing basic health promotion information and provides at least 4 different career paths nursing can lead them to.
In keeping with the NSNA’s mission of the Breakthrough to Nursing program, student nurses will present the message to children and young adults is that nursing is an attainable, exciting, and satisfying career with diverse work settings. Student nurses will be prepared to respond to children’s common misperceptions that only women can be nurses and nurses only do what doctors tell them with positive information about increasing diversity within the profession and the intricate and autonomous nature of nursing care. Student nurses will also be prepared to encourage students from all backgrounds and cultural groups. Student nurses will present the different career paths available in nursing from work in a hospital to flight nursing and a midwife delivering babies to Army/Navy Nurse corps. Hands-on activities, dynamic active teaching methods, and interactive question-and-answer periods, within an welcoming atmosphere are essential elements of a successful program. Time is a valuable resource, and student nurses are encouraged to use find ways to meet course requirements and implement a Breakthrough to Nursing project simultaneously; they should consult with faculty and clinical instructors about such a collaboration. Our promotion of diversity in nursing and all the places nursing can take you is vital to the growth in the profession and works towards eliminating a nursing shortage.
Audience and Collaborators:
You may already have contacts at a local school, after school program, scout troop or church group. The NCANS BTN director has publicized this project to stakeholders, and is available to assist in finding local resources. Include your own faculty in planning and fact-checking; coordinate your efforts with the teachers and group leaders established curricula. Community resources may include school nurses, school district student health coordinators, nurses and educators in the local health department and local pediatric nurses and nurse practitioners. If possible, talk with professionals in your area from varied areas of nursing. Many are willing to donate their time to promote nursing to our youth and their stories can inspire others. Know the age of the kids you’ll be working with; the interests and attention spans of 2nd graders and 12th graders are worlds apart.
The NCANS BTN Director has developed talking points for several health promotion topics and career paths in nursing that you can use to get started, and guidelines about making the information age-appropriate. Draw from your school’s resources and their school resources, using teachers and written materials. Always ensure that you are giving factual information by asking faculty advisors to review your materials. Be careful about using euphemisms because many children take what you say literally! Finally, keep it brief. The presentation length will vary with the age group, but it is better to plan a brief session and answer lots of questions than to plan a long session and lose their attention.
Props and Prizes:
Bring props, such as personal protective gear, that children can try on and play with. A good suggestion for hands-on teaching tools are needle-less syringes and colored liquid, to practice measuring and fine motor skills. If you have a budget, purchase some plush microbes to toss around the room and give as prizes. An instant crowd pleaser is the stethoscope! Kids love listening to each other’s hearts, and many kids still have the idea that only doctors use stethoscopes. Bring plenty of alcohol pads for the earpieces! You can order free copies of an excellent coloring book titled You Can Be a Nurse in English and in Spanish. The website is www.discovernursing.com. Click on the “Free Materials” link to order them. Area hospitals and even your School of Nursing may provide promotional materials like bandaids, bookmarks, stickers, pens, even stethoscopes! The NCANS BTN Director has coloring sheets, and sample mini-posters that can be printed and handed out. For high school students, bring copies of the current curriculum pre-requisites for the area nursing schools. This can also be done as a big event incorporating events for all ages as well as for parents. By doing this you are encouraging not only the students but engaging the entire family/support system.
A central tenet of nursing is that if something isn’t documented, it isn’t done. From the very beginning, plan on writing a brief description of your project and sending it to the NCANS BTN Director, the NSNA BTN Director, the local media, and your faculty advisor or the director of your nursing school. Delegate this to a member of the group working on the project. Publicizing your event will inspire others, and further the goals of the Breakthrough to Nursing program by informing the community that even as students, nurses are doing great things in their community. There are national, state, and private awards and scholarships available for students that create effective programs to promote health and the nursing profession.
Assistance in Planning, Implementing, or Documenting:
This project is based on the idea that each one of us can teach another, and we look forward to learning from all of you! Any information you can share about what worked and what didn’t can be incorporated into future projects and will benefit us all. As much as I want children to learn that they could be a nurse, I also want you all to know that you have the skills and the resources to improve the health of children and families in your community. Please contact me if you have questions during planning, implementing or documenting your event. Remember to send your ideas and articles based on your program. Thanks so much!
Scott Goodsite, BTN Director 2008-09
Local Project Highlighted!
We are excited about the outreach to our communities! The following link highlights the breakthrough to nursing projects happening in our state. I encourage all schools who obtain media coverage for their event to submit them for recognition. Send to Elizabeth Henderson at NCANSBTN@gmail.com
North Carolina nursing students reaching out to fifth graders at Stateside Elementary