How do I find time? Student perspectives on balancing the demands of interprofessional community service learning opportunities with other academic responsibilities.

Purpose : Collaborative community service learning offers an introduction to health care and social services, provides opportunities to learn about individual and cultural differences in a variety of underserved populations, and fosters understanding of professional roles among students in multiple health care fields. However, the intersection between passion for service and commitment to other academic responsibilities can provide a challenging tension. A recent development in the combined community service learning coursed allowed the exploration of this tension and a deeper examination of the student perspective in regards to service requirements.Description : Design: Mixed-methods Descriptive Study Ninety-four physical therapy, physician assistant and public health students were assigned to participate in one of four Special Olympic Healthy Athlete FUNFitness© health screenings as part of an interprofessional community service learning course. Prior to the events, the students met in small teams to learn about their professional roles as well as to gain proficiency in administering the health screen. Three of the four health screening events were cancelled due to uncontrollable reasons. The fourth event was still scheduled, although only 25% of the students were assigned to this event. The program faculty decided to implement a collaborative and student driven process to determine whether or not to proceed with the fourth event. A series of anonymous Survey Monkeyª questionnaires containing a variety of question types were sent to the students in the interprofessional course. Theming of subjective data was completed. The final data analysis was shared with all students enrolled in the course.Summary of Use : 63-87% of students responded to the surveys. When given the option, only 37.8% of students preferred to cancel the event. The majority of students wanted to continue with the community event, but most of them (76%) wanted to make it optional rather than continue with the originally assigned groups. Despite the strong majority preference to continue the event from the first survey, the second survey revealed only 5 students who would actually participate when given the individual option to participate. Theming revealed that students strongly stated a desire to continue with the event, citing reasons such as Òthe athletes are looking forward to itÓ, the event being a Ògreat experience/opportunity to practice skillsÓ and the desire to fulfill a commitment. Those who voted to make it optional or cancel the event cited being Òswamped with workÓ. Additionally, 18 of the 39 respondents discussed the aspect of it being fair, showing concern for an equal access to learning opportunities.Importance to Members: These data suggest that interprofessional community service learning is important to students, but balancing community service with other academic demands is a barrier to involvement.

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  • Control #: 2026920
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Jeffrey Farnsworth, Jessica McCafferty, Erin Wentzell, Howard Straker, Alison DeLeo
  • Keywords: service-learning|interprofessional|community health

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