Neighbor Island Bachelor’s Students Learn While Supporting Local Community

As part of the UH Consortium agreement, UH Manoa Nursing offers courses on Maui and Kauai for students who are pursuing the baccalaureate degree. Students complete their Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) at Maui Community College or Kauai Community College, and seamlessly transition to enroll at UH Manoa Nursing, while completing courses on their home island. One course that students take is N450/L: Community, Public & Global Health Nursing focused on nursing of populations, emphasizing the application of nursing knowledge and skill to assessment of health status and needs of individuals, families, and communities in Hawaii and globally. Each fall semester, N450/L students on Maui, Kauai and Oahu participate in community activities and complete group projects. Allen Hanberg-Paz, Ph.D., RN, CHSE, assistant professor, shared the stories that follow about the students’ activities on Maui during the fall 2018 semester. They are great examples of how UHM Nursing students learn through serving their community.

Community Impact from Large Scale Disaster

In September 2018, a fire burned more than 2,300 acres in Lahaina, including several homes, a tree farm and one of the largest organic farms in Hawaii. Students assisted local incident command and disaster clean-up crews in preparation for an upcoming Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) visit. Students witnessed disaster preparedness teams in action and learned the processes association with directing disaster projects. Students reported the impact of the experience as extremely positive. Individually, students appreciated giving back to the community, felt a stronger connection to the land, and saw how disasters impact beyond the people directly affected to the land, ocean and larger community.

nursing students help with clean up after a fire

Gardening and Educating at Maui Adult Day Care

Students provided education to staff, clients and caregivers at Maui Adult Day Care on the importance of nutrition for the elderly, particularly for those with dementia. The group planted a garden with vegetables and herbs that the Center used in meal preparation. By the end of the semester, the class harvested enough tomatoes and basil to prepare a caprese salad for everyone to enjoy. Participants were taught about the gardening techniques used and about the nutritional content associated with the salad. Additionally, students provided educational session on ways to stimulate the appetites of picky eaters and the importance of healthy and alternative snacks. Students prepared a sugar-free muffin for participants to enjoy, as an example of a tasty but healthy snack.

nursing students planting a garden

Implementing Disaster Preparedness Tactics

Students proposed that the Maui Adult Day Care Center use a mass texting system in case of emergency rather than having to make individual phone calls to family and caregivers. They installed and set up the texting system for the center and then taught the Day Care Center’s team how to use the system. They also developed a disaster preparedness kit for the Center and taught the staff how to use it, when to use it, and how it should be maintained. Lastly, the students utilized the existing policies from the Center, associated with various disasters to develop visuals that could be easily understood by staff and clients that make it easier for individuals to understand what their roles are during a disaster. The posters were displayed around the Center where appropriate, and shared with other Centers run by Maui Adult Day Care.

Elder and Care-Giver Depression Education

Students focused their projects on depression with a theme of “Happiness, Wellness, & Health.” The purpose of this project was to educate staff, clients, and caregivers at Maui Adult Day Care Center on how to assess/monitor for depression, offer potential interventions for depression, and what to consider in regards to care-giver depression. The group promoted activities that encourage happiness by planning an outing to the Maui Ocean Center. Groups of students were pairs with groups of clients and care-givers. Lastly, the students prepared an educational session about the care-giver depression and presented the information to a caregiver support group meeting in Kula, Maui.

nursing students on excursion with seniors from day care center

For more information about N450/L: Community, Public & Global Health Nursing, contact course coordinator Gary Glauberman at

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