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Mennonite College of Nursing’s clinical experience ‘America’s Promise’ receives AACN Award for Innovation in Nursing Education

America's Promise students practicing in the simulation lab.

Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) at Illinois State University has been selected to receive an Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) for their redesigned undergraduate pediatric clinical experience—America’s Promise School Project.

The awards program recognizes the outstanding work of AACN member schools to re-envision traditional models for nursing education and lead programmatic change. The award includes a monetary prize of $1,000 and will be presented during the Fall Semiannual Meeting on Monday, October 30, in Washington, D.C.

“This national recognition is a testament to the creative problem-solving employed by our faculty in order to provide quality education experiences for our students and to focus on the health and well-being of those in our community,” Dean Judy Neubrander, Mennonite College of Nursing.

America’s Promise nursing clinical experience

America’s Promise School Project (APSP) is Mennonite College of Nursing’s answer to a marked decrease in pediatric clinical opportunities available to students. Under America’s Promise, the clinical experience for MCN’s traditional and accelerated B.S.N. programs is redesigned with an emphasis on pediatric and public health.

The newly designed and tested pediatric clinical model places undergraduate students at elementary and secondary school sites and is built in accordance with America’s Promise Alliance’s mission to improve the health and well-being of children.

Under America’s Promise, Bachelor of Science in Nursing students are exposed to pediatric clinical experiences in both urban and rural settings. They learn about public health issues and the challenges faced by children and families with chronic health issues while navigating the health care system. In keeping with the goals of America’s Promise Alliance, students prepare to show leadership in nursing and become advocates for children.

Addressing public health issues through pediatric clinical experiences

America's Promise students set up oral hygiene project at area elementary school.

The America’s Promise clinical experience places students in area elementary and secondary schools.

Mennonite College of Nursing aims to prepare exceptional nurses who not only are prepared to improve health outcomes locally and globally, but also have the leadership skills necessary to drive those initiatives forward. The America’s Promise pediatric clinical experience places students with school nurses, teachers, and special education professionals while assessing children in the nurse’s office. Students develop, implement, and evaluate health promotion projects, organize health fairs, and implement evidence-based interventions around public health issues (such as tooth brushing in schools) to improve child health.

“I honestly did not expect the maintenance plan presented by the student to provide new information or ideas for our family. However, I was very wrong.”

Leadership in nursing education with real-world impact

As health care shifts away from traditional clinic settings and into the community, nurses must be prepared to assess, support and care for families in a variety of settings. The America’s Promise School Project clinical model prepares MCN graduates to adapt to the evolving health care system, and is already having real-world impact.

“This program and teaching we received from our nursing student could mean life or death to our child.”

In reference to an allergy maintenance plan designed by a MCN student as part of their clinical experience, one parent said: “I honestly did not expect the maintenance plan presented by the student to provide new information or ideas for our family. However, I was very wrong. The nursing student did an excellent job researching and sharing resources, thoughts and ideas on the way that we can help teach our child about his allergy and ways to keep him safe. This program and teaching we received from our nursing student could mean life or death to our child.”

MCN is providing leadership in nursing–learn more.

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