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Isabel Realica, Nursing Student Translates Classroom Lessons into Action

Part of the UH Manoa Nursing educational experience is the bridge between learning in classroom settings to individual learning at clinical placements. Isabel Realica embraced those lessons, took initiative and action – and created a much needed website for an organization that had no resources for it.

phoyo of Isabel RealicaLast semester, as a 5th semester student, Realica chose Kula no na Poʻe Hawaii in Papakolea as her clinical placement for NURS 450 course Community, Public, and Global Health Nursing. After reviewing the list of clinical placements, Realica was most interested in this organization because of their mission to support the residents of Hawaiian Homestead communities.

Realica’s clinical instructor Morgan Torris focuses on teaching students the importance of empowering community health organizations. He enjoys teaching NURS 450 because it is the nursing student’s first exposure to individual learning where students are given more independence and are asked to take responsibility for their personal learning.

Realica learned a lot from the staff at Kula no na Poʻe Hawaii. Through her experience, she learned how to work with and interact with different types of people from organization leadership to community residents. Most importantly, the staff at Kula no na Poʻe Hawaii taught her the importance of working together towards a common goal.

One day, in passing, Realica heard Kula no na Poʻe Hawaii’s team leader Adrienne Dillard mentioned that she had a summer goal of creating a website for the organization. Realica learned from Dillard that websites help provide legitimacy to organizations, help build connections to the community, and can assist with securing grants. It was something Kula no na Poʻe Hawaii had wanted and needed for years. Past efforts to create a website were futile because estimates from website designers were expensive and there was no budget.

Isabel Realica poses for group photoThat’s when the light bulb turned on for Realica. Since she was 12 years old, Realica’s hobby was creating websites. In that moment, she realized that she could build a website for Kula no na Poʻe Hawaii. That’s where classroom learning and clinical learning crossed paths. Not only would Realica build Kula no na Poʻe Hawaii a website, she created an instruction manual to teach the staff how to use the website.

During her spring break and on her own personal time, Realica created the layout and shell for the new Kula no na Poʻe Hawaii website. She worked closely with Dillard and her team to create content for the website and then trained the staff on how to update it. She still responds to their email questions about the website.

For Torris, he was amazed at Realica’s work ethic but more importantly, he was impressed with her demonstrated understanding of the core lessons of the class. Community organizations can only be as successful as their outreach to their community residents. Having a website helps connect them to the community, which helps drive their mission. Not only did Realica deliver a useful product, she created the instructional manual and provide staff training to empower them to use the website to its fullest capacity long after she’d be gone.

Realica is currently a 6th semester nursing student enrolled in NURS 420 Cooperative Education in Nursing and is working at Kuakini Medical Center in the emergency room. In her spare time she enjoys making jewelry, going to the gym and is a dog lover.

For more information about Kula no na Poʻe Hawaii, visit www.kula-papakolea.com. For more information about NURS 450 course Community, Public, and Global Health Nursing contact course coordinator Michele Bray at mbray@hawaii.edu.

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