Short-term Service-Learning: Implications for Preparing Health Science Students for Practice
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine students’ self-reported learning outcomes following participation in collaborative interprofessional service-learning experiences through the qualitative analysis of participants’ written, guided critical reflections. Method: Participants responded to guided reflection questions pre and post trip. The four pre-trip open-ended reflection questions included: what the students expected or hoped to learn, how they expected to learn this, the importance of this learning for their career skill development and how this learning could be used in the future. Upon completion of the service-learning experience, students were asked the same questions with slight variation- What did they learn, how did they learn this, the importance of this learning for career skill development and how this learning could be used in their future practice. Open coding strategies were employed to guide the researchers’ analysis of the student participants’ written responses. Results: There were 145 participants in the study, including 86 students in a comparison group and 59 students who participated in service-learning trips during 2018 and 2019. Service-learning participants majored in nursing (47.4%, n=28) and occupational therapy (33.9%, n=20), with fewer participants in pharmacy (n=5), physical therapy (n=5) and social work (n=2). Comparing pre and post service-learning group responses, researchers noted that the post-trip reflections included more depth, breadth and insight compared to the pretest reflection responses for each theme. Post trip responses also included the additional theme of personal growth. Post-trip participants reported having a greater self-awareness of their own limitations and strengths, having a broadened perspective, experiencing spiritual growth, and developing attitudes of gratefulness, humility, flexibility, patience, and empathy after participating in the trip, reinforcing the idea that immersion created learning is exponential when it is experiential. Conclusions: Service learning coupled with guided critical reflection is an effective tool in enhancing interprofessional collaboration. Qualitative analysis of students’ self-reported learning through written reflections served as a valuable means for capturing learning outcomes related to interprofessional collaboration competencies.
Lemmonds T, Adam J, Espiritu EW, Wyant DK. Short-term Service-Learning: Implications for Preparing Health Science Students for Practice. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2021 Oct 01;19(4), Article 3.