May 12, 2020

Community health nursing students find novel way to present final project

Remote learning prompts a nursing student group in NURS 288 to summarize their learning for final 'Imogene' project via animated video

A group of eight UCalgary Nursing second-year (community health) students have found an innovative way to present their final project in light of this time of unique learning outside the classroom.

Presented with a low-fidelity simulation back in January, the entire class “met” 34-year-old Imogene Henderson and were asked to “rewind” her life to how it might have been in Grade 6, at age 14 or at her current age. Instructor Heather Bensler’s group chose the time when Henderson was 14 and created interventions based on how they felt her life might have been at that time.

“Originally, we had planned to do a vlog-type video to show our ideas,” says group member Cindy Chen, whose first degree is in visual communications design. “That was before COVID-19! So this new drawing-style-based video came up due to remote learning.”

'Draw my life' approach

The students decided to create a ‘draw my life’ style of video made popular several years ago. “Based on the amount of views those videos get, we concluded it could be a great way to convey information with a proven audience retention rate, as long as we created an amazing script and information,” explains Chen.

The result is a 20-minute animation style presentation where each of the students takes on the persona of a RN working on an intra-professional care team at a fully funded, youth-focused health centre. A detailed health assessment is first completed, followed by a detailed care plan for Henderson with interventions such as yoga and mindfulness, wilderness therapy and animal assistance interventions.

Second-year nursing students capture learning in animation for their NURS 288 project for Winter 2020.

"This assignment was based on the work of Drs. Candace Lind and Aliyah Dosani who created the Imogene simulation,” says instructor Heather Bensler.

Community health nurses work with many different populations and with individuals and families. A big part of community health is social justice and the principle of treating everyone fairly — not judging on appearance.

Henderson is used in the nursing curriculum at the junior and senior levels. She is a moulaged manikin, made up in the faculty’s Clinical Simulation Learning Centre with lacerations and bruising on her body. Initially, the students are not aware of her circumstances: that she is the oldest of five children, was sexually abused by an uncle, became pregnant at 14 and addicted to painkillers after an abortion, was kicked out of her house by an alcoholic father and began surviving on the streets.

“The students spend time completing a general survey and try to gather information about her merely from the way she looks,” explains Bensler. “Given her appearance, students often comment about how the health-care staff may treat her poorly.

"I then play a recording of her story, read by an actor; when the students hear Imogene’s story, suddenly her current lifestyle makes sense. They then chose interventions at one of the three ages, using the population health promotion model at either the individual, family, community or society level.”

Information through design

Using her skills of conveying information through design, infographics, images and video instead of just written words and speech, Chen created the live drawings in PaintTool SAI then live recorded and edited with Camtasia Studio (a software suite for creating video tutorials and presentations). Sound processing was done with Adobe Audition.

“There was very little room for error because each time I made a mistake, a set of drawings would have to be redrawn. To give it context, it takes about four or five hours to make and edit two minutes of the video.”

"We really wanted to create an emotional response to Imogene’s story,” adds student Heather McKenzie, “and show how early intervention in the life of a vulnerable adolescent might change the trajectory of their life. I think this style of presentation really conveyed that."