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An open letter from Janice Buttler, associateprofessor for Trends in Nursing class in the Nursing Department,spring 2004

The Supporting Actions for Engagement (S.A.F.E.) grant was aperfect fit for the Service Learning projects that students in thesenior level nursing course are required to complete. The course,Trends in Nursing, requires students to select a current issue ortrend in health care and thoroughly research the topic. Throughthis research, a weakness or problem will emerge. They are than tocreate a project that addresses this weakness.

This year the students were to focus their assignment on HomelandSecurity and Emergency Preparedness as required by the SAFE grant.The students embraced the concept and went out into the communityas "trail blazers". They contacted communityinstitutions and collaborated with them to help improve and in somecases, develop programs to help the community with homelandsecurity.

At the end of the semester, each student was asked to prepare a"testimonial" as to the effect this project had onthem. Their personal reflections revealed "amazement"as well as "personal growth". Every student agreed thiswas much more than just a course requirement; it was an opportunityto create something meaningful and sustainable.

As a project leader, I realized the endless possibilities that areavailable when students are given meaningful assignments and theflexibility to create something. As a result of these projects,community institutions - such as the American Red Cross, TheHealth Department of Somerset, and the Health Care Association ofNew Jersey, became active supporters of the S.A.F.E. grant and theRVCC nursing students. We have created lasting partnerships withinthe community.

Raritan Valley Community College
Last updated 5/24/06 by AKA

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