Claire Mallette, York University School of Nursing

As educators, we are constantly pushing to move beyond traditional assignments of scholarly papers, to empower our students to apply their learning and knowledge, to discover their own innovative abilities, and to contribute to meaningful change initiatives.

At the School of Nursing at York University, approximately 500 senior nursing students in two courses (Advanced Professional Issues and Leadership) were given the assignment to critically analyze a nursing issue and were encouraged to tie their projects to the Change Day Ontario initiative.

Students researched and analyzed issues, and then created a change initiative/pledge on how they would begin to address the issue. The change initiatives were something the students could improve in their own nursing practice, and/or the nursing practice overall. The purpose of the assignment was to demonstrate to students their own power in creating change and ability to make a difference as a student and as a nurse upon graduation.

Students rose to the challenge with impactful initiatives such as:

“We pledge to facilitate transcultural communication between nurses and patients by removing language barriers in the healthcare setting specific to nursing care.” This group even made a video to demonstrate the use of an app to remove the language barrier between nurses and patients. Watch it here.

Another group pledged to, “never use violence against a nurse and to protect them against potential assaults. We will address barriers and empower nurses to feel safe and confident to report any situations related to violence or where lack of security is felt.”

“We pledge to explore the resources that elderly patients need and brainstorm new career opportunities that can benefit and provide resources for elderly patients. We also pledge to spread information about the wide career opportunities and benefits in working with elderly patients.”

“We pledge to advocate for nurses affected by nursing burnout and provide a social platform that allows them to share their perspective and experiences related to burnout as way of raising awareness.”

To see the rest of the pledges submitted on the website, click here.

And see below for images from when a group of students did an arts and crafts session with seniors in a Long Term Care facility.