2004 TAMIU Nursing Students Offer Video Health Tips

TAMIU Nursing Students Offer Video Health Tips

On the Texas A&M International University website (www.tamiu.edu), two-minute video health tips provide information on subjects such as baby bottle mouth, protecting you and your family from West Nile Virus and the importance of quality family time.

Behind each articulate gem of information is an entire semester of work for a TAMIU nursing student, distilled into an easy-to-follow, technologically savvy presentation.

Dr. Susan Baker, director of the Dr. F.M. Canseco School of Nursing, explained the tips came from the Fall 2003 Community Health Nursing class.

"The students were split into groups and each selected a regional community, such as Hebbronville, Mirando City, Zapata or Santa Rita subdivision, spending nine hours per week of clinical time there," explained Dr. Baker.

She said students first did a "windshield survey," describing what they saw as they drove through the community.

"The students analyzed the state of the community, evaluating the physical, socio-economic and other conditions," said Baker, "They identified contacts in the area and collected information on local conditions. Each student focused on a specific age group, and then evaluated the community aspects, such as education, health, transportation, as each relates to that age."

She explained after that research was compiled, each student selected one age specific health topic to address, justified their choice, and then researched the topic, in preparation for a two-minute video script.

"Students were initially embarrassed to be on screen, to hear their own voice. But as they hear from friends and family and other community members, they gain more self-confidence," said Baker, "It's an important lesson because one of the many roles of the nurse is educator. This project allowed students to fully comprehend that."

She explained in addition to learning about the local community, the health concerns of various groups, and experiencing the role of health care teacher, students gain additional value from the exercise.

"The self-esteem gained from doing this, from having total strangers be able to see you on the web is extremely important. Nurses can get into legal trouble on the job if they don't have the courage to speak up when there's a problem. When our graduates go to interview, you can see the professionalism and self-esteem they've earned, which benefits them in several areas," said Baker.

Rose Saldivar, who teaches the Community Health Nursing course and is an assistant professor, said she is pleased her students are learning on so many levels.

"This course, and the creation of the streaming video health tips, is just one way the School of Nursing makes sure students are truly prepared once they graduate. I think our program gives students an understanding that it's not just about the facts, but also the research, the comprehension, the direct interaction with other people, and the confidence in yourself to be the best. We really show the students how to accomplish all of that," she said.

People tell Baker that they look for the latest installment on the web every week, and find the information valuable. She gives credit for the idea to TAMIU's Office of Educational Technology and Outreach (ETO).

"ETOs staff was the inspiration for the health tips, and provided the technical expertise of filming the two-minute spots and posting them on the University's website. The staff tracked the hits on them and at one time there were 143 different people viewing them," said Baker.

Dr. David Britton, director of ETO, explained the idea actually grew from staff meetings in the Office of Educational Technology and Outreach. "The idea came for meetings within the office. We kick things around like that, and were trying to think of ways we could publicize the Canseco School of Nursing efforts. The real work is Rose's and her faculty who put all this together, who made it a requirement for the class," he explained.

He said the tips were best viewed with Windows Media Player 9 and could be viewed using a 56K dial up connection, as long as one waited for the file to load.

For more information about the Canseco School of Nursing health tips or other aspects of the School, please contact Dr. Susan Baker at 326.2450, visit offices in the Dr. F.M. Canseco Hall, room 315 or e-mail sbaker@tamiu.edu. University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu