Like any other health care center, Ireland Army Community Hospital is commissioned to ensure efficient medical service delivery for patients. The hospital works within the range of its resources and upholds quality by engaging the services of Public Health and Occupational Health departments to promote better medical outcomes alongside ensuring full implementation of health care policies (Bernstein, Ohren & Shue, 2003). The Hospital in its mandate operates as a single national organization charged with the full responsibility of ensuring that public health care organizations and private medical institutions provide quality health care services across USA. Otherwise, the Ireland Army Community Hospital through its healthcare departments is directly responsible for the health of the members of the Armed Forces, a service extended to families registered with the National Defense Medical Service Centers (Bernstein, Ohren & Shue, 2003). In other words, the hospital is responsible for the health of all members of the Armed Forces Community, providing medical services to family members of the Armed Forces as well as maintaining a balance between the reservists and veterans.
On a lighter note, the community hospital works on a collaborative model, a model that links the health desires of stakeholders across USA and Armed Force community (Bernstein, Ohren & Shue, 2003). The key contributors towards an enhanced health care program include colleagues from public health and occupational health departments, Armed Forces Networks, Ministry of the Defense Forces and their respective Medical Commandants (Bernstein, Ohren & Shue, 2003). The basic healthcare services offered to members of the Armed Forces and their families include primary care, specialized care services, prison health services and general public health services like blood and body fluid screening, vaccination, children’s health maintenance and treatment for inmates. Following the level of infections regularly mentioned in the country, the Army Community Hospital is geared towards delivering a consistent and high quality health services to both the infected and non-infected members of the community (Bernstein, Ohren & Shue, 2003). In general, the performance objective of the community hospital is to secure the best health care outcomes for the uniformed officers and their families at the lowest costs possible. Thus, the operating model is used to establish avenues for local improvements through enhanced quality services and health care research, and in a way that reduce health care inequalities among communities.
An overview of the practicum agency
For over decades, nursing schools have been offering a required course in which students must actively engage in a reflective experience outside their normal classrooms. The practicum experiences provide the basic context through which a student can link classroom work with experiential skills as a way of improving his or her professional identity. With the understanding of the level of competition in labor markets, health care institutions only look for the best skills among the many graduates out there. This is the main reason why I made the decision to complete a course requirement by taking an internship in a nationally or internationally recognized health institution, in Ireland Army Community Hospital. The experience I obtained during the practicum is focused on professional and leadership development, and with regards to nursing experience, the course impacted professional nursing care that is pegged on teamwork and fulfillment of a common goal. The practicum provided an opportunity to fulfill the broad objectives of health care desires by working close to experienced health professionals. The ability to nurture global health experiences and apply them in real life situations is yet another reason that made me to remain selective in the kind of institutions I would want to associate with during my practicum. With such level of rationality in thinking and skill development, health care centers like Ireland Army Community Hospital became the targeted destination. Other than the mentioned reasons, the community hospital offers some of the basic skills students need in order to ascertain the experiences required in job markets.
The Ireland Army Community Hospital operates under the guidelines of section 15 of the National Health and Care Act 2011, which gives the secretary state commandant the mandate to commission vital health services to the community by including the services of young professionals. This section of the National Care Act defines the scope of operation and the responsibility of Ireland Army Community Hospital, and individuals stationed at various care units oversee the distribution processes of medical services and the challenges Armed Forces face during their service deliveries, which are practical skills a student can learn during a practicum. In other words, this description is highly clinical towards engaging young professionals in field research, practical application of skills in finding the cause and developing a framework that can be used by health professionals in order to improve the health status of the whole society. In order to ensure growth, the community hospital has developed a well-structured operational system ranging from a clear mission and vision statement, management and process implementation. Through the practicum, I was able to identify the key responsibility of the community hospital and how health officials respond to major public health issues like an outbreak of flu and other diseases.
Organization’s mission: Apart from the stated objectives, Ireland Army Community Hospital’s mission is centered towards optimizing community wellness and ensuring military readiness to improving social welfare through exceptional and more holistic patient care. The performance objective of the hospital is based on improved caring, compassion and skill impartment. Therefore, all emergency health issues find the community hospital fully prepared, and through proper research, the Ireland Army Community Hospital provides a lasting solution to major pandemics the country may face. In order to achieve its purpose, the community hospital has established a premier regional health care system with the basic understanding and desires to meet the exceeding expectations of patients and the general community.
Organization’s goal: The community hospital is dedicated to providing patients top quality care services in major cities across the country. Ireland Army Community Hospital’s health care systems aim at serving and improving the health status of nation’s soldiers and respective families.
Location: Even though the community hospital operates across USA, the main branch is at Fort Knox, and serves the entire community of Fort Knox with basic primary care. The community hospital works through its specialty care providers to ensure that the surrounding community gets a first leveled treatment before proceeding to neighboring communities because most army officers who can assist in deliver processes live around the hospital. As the case stands, Ireland Army Community Hospital serves a population close to 35, 000 soldiers excluding their family members, retirees and other citizens. As a community hospital, Ireland Army operates as one crucial government infrastructure and responds to the needs of the whole society. As already mentioned, Ireland Army Community Hospital operates through its sub-branches, and due to the rising demands for community healthcare services, the hospital is centrally located at 289 Ireland Avenue, building 851 to improve accessibility and response in cases of health emergency. The community hospital works in collaboration with the Public and Occupational Health Department located at 6501 East of mile Road, building 230 at Warren. The collaborative approaches to health issues between the two health care institutions improve population safety in case of disease outbreak.
During the practicum, it became clear that Ireland Army Community Hospital works in collaboration with other health care institutions both national and international with an aim of safeguarding the health standards of American Citizens locally and abroad. The collaborated approach Ireland Community hospital gives to health care issues enhances response to specific disease outbreaks. Apart from accepting active engagement with Public Health and Occupation Health Department, Ireland Army Community Hospital entered into an agreement with the army Wellness Center and Blue Grass Army Department Health Clinic to help improve the health care deliveries among its main targets. This has made operations within the hospital very easy and cost effective since most of the activities are shared among the different departments. Otherwise, the Ireland Army Community Hospital remains the controlling body, and every decision-making process that touches on research and applicability of a program concerning a specific disease outbreak is controlled by the community hospital.
Health issues addressed during the Practicum
During the practicum, one of the health issues that raised concern was the outbreak of flu and its impact on the working population. The Ireland Army Community Hospital health officials were charged with the responsibility of sensitizing the community on the causes, consequences, control measures and treatment of flu. During the Army Flu Campaign, information on who should get the Flu-Mist vaccination became the main issue and its application towards controlling influenza virus. The Army Community hospital gave a new definition of Flu-Mist as a live influenza virus injected into a healthy person for active immunization. The live vaccine targeted people between the age of 2 and 49 years, providing an equal level of protection as the commonly used flu shot. The vaccine was administered as an inhalant in form of mist. The Army also recommended that pregnant women and children below the age of 2 years were not to receive or be in contact with the Flu-Mist since the vaccine residue would lead to further health complications in pregnant women and children.
The community hospital sought to use flu shot for pregnant women and children below the age of 2 years. The research department also found out that the flu shot could be used to prevent infections among patients with other chronic medical conditions. However, the processes and the contributions the uniformed soldiers were making in various communities faced significant oppositions. Some people seem to have full faith in their physicians, and therefore were not ready to accept the flu vaccine without first consulting physicians. Such oppositions were led by people who had faced severe allergy or an initial reaction to flu vaccine. Following the high rate of influenza infection and low response from the public sector, the Army Flu Campaign took the lead towards improving people’s health conditions, developing preventive skills and ensuring that people obtained better treatment.
During the practicum, other relevant information concerning the Ireland Army Community Hospital and campaign program were pegged on the army identification, surveillance, administration of personnel infected with immunodeficiency virus and HIV resources available for local communities.
The contributions of student during the practicum
Every practicum, especially in health care education allows students to balance nursing theories and practice. Most literatures advise on clinical preceptorship as the most precise way a student can foster the integration of theory and practice, and all the concepts students have developed throughout their coursework comes out well when they engage in a health practicum. A practicum creates a base for the accomplishment of socialization as a concept, which is one of the most important tools in any nursing environment (Whitaker, 2004, p. 30). The most important achievement a person can mention is the ability to develop a synthesized experience that can be used to facilitate provision of medical services. Among the many contributions I made during the practicum, the focus was on my ability to improve on decision making and create a work environment that enhances the general performance of the hospital.
Specific to the Ireland Army Community Hospital and the health issues the Armed forces were able to engage in, I was able to make the following contributions:
- I added experience and confidence in role performance by establishing a supportive environment. This was possible through good collaboration with preceptors, other students and experienced professionals. As much as I was in one of their learning experiences, creating an environment that facilitates research in health related issues, designing health models and other important models became part of the many achievements.
- I was able to provide primary, secondary and tertiary health care services alongside establishing preventive methods for patients with major health issues. In this case, I could demonstrate efficiency in the use of nursing skills learnt in class in real life situations.
- Through reviews and study of vital health care policies, I was able to develop vital communication materials needed to assist patients move within the health system.
- I contributed to the most important part of human resource that the Army Flu Campaign team could use to provide vaccination and immediate treatment to the infected people. The services I offered to the local community also became the main contributing factor towards the success of the community hospital.
- I developed a communicable disease pamphlet containing the initial course, possible vaccination, preventive measures, treatment methods and damages to the community.
- I offered relevant information on the spread of flu, aided in the campaign and vaccination process.
The discussions I developed during the practicum revolved around the significance of engaging in a practical course particularly in community health institutions. However, the entire goal of the practicum remained relevant and core towards skill improvement (Whitaker, 2004, p. 29). For example, by the end of the practicum, it was clear that I had developed confidence and experience in specific roles, which I could perform according to applicable health care standards. The whole practicum was designed to improve personal engagement in collaborate roles and build strong ethical standard, a measure that will later be used to rank all the participants who took part in different fields. The need to create a foundation for high quality, safe and cost-effective health care services improves with the desire to take managerial duties in a health care institution. Apart from the general experiences I managed to gather from the various field activities, my engagement and regular contact with patients enabled me to develop a feeling of identification with the community resources (Whitaker, 2004, p. 30). It established appropriate measures of ensuring that patients respond to behavioral assistance given to them when under attack and that the mental health components helped patients under medication to successfully recover from surgical experiences.
Relation of the practicum activities to student’s academic work and concentration area
Active involvement in practicum as a learning option offers an understanding of how much nursing students and young professionals in USA and other parts of the world must show competencies towards proving quality health care services for a more diverse patient population. Learning institutions are challenged to take leadership roles by assuring their respective communities on the relevance of the various health care courses offered (Villanueva, Hovinga, & Cass, 2011, p. 21). The training centers must respond to health care demands by providing appropriate training in language and cultural competencies.
Different studies conducted on the importance of a practicum in the life of a nursing student point to the fact that short-term immersion in highly competitive health care institutions is an effective method for advancing cultural competency and relevance in all the nursing fields such as environmental health and occupational health communicable disease prevention. Developing practical skills is such professional areas reflect the level of commitment particular learning institutions have towards supporting students in their quests to develop new skills (Villanueva, Hovinga, & Cass, 2011, p. 23). The new knowledge and skills developed in such important nursing areas enable learners and medical practitioners to become leaders who value quality care not only in national contexts but also in global environments.
Within the areas of concentration, it is generally arguable that the students through the practicum will generate cultural competencies and be able to understand the community in which they practice by asking the right question. This was practically true because throughout the practicum I was able to practice and conduct physical assessment, and develop an understanding on how to work within a network. The practicum with the Ireland Army Community Hospital offered the best opportunity for the participants including me to estimate their level of flexibility and willingness to learn new skills in different working environments. It is much believable that international health institutions and organizations admire workers with master degrees, varying experiences in program planning and evaluation as well as clinical specialist with research experiences in various fields (Villanueva, Hovinga, & Cass, 2011, p. 21). A practicum and Ireland Army Community College is one of the best experiences I can count as a drive towards understanding the environmental health and the challenges people face in their bid to improve the health status of a community. The students who have attended practicum at the same hospital talked of individuals working under tough environment conditions, adapting to such conditions and providing the best work experiences required by majority of health care institutions.
The most basic activities during the practicum included giving professional advices to patients, conducting tests on patients suspected to have flu infections, offering first aid service, developing and keeping medical pamphlets and keeping the details of patient. All these areas are relevant to nursing profession and any practical approach would improve the level of experience students have after the completion of the degree or master program. The practicum was therefore related to my area of academic work because through the practicum, I managed to developed skills and also adapt to harsh environmental conditions that may impede response to health issues. It is true that a practicum only equips learners with the real world experience, and chances of becoming one of the best nurses on practice improves with proper application of knowledge learnt in class in real life situations.
The usefulness, impact and relevance of the selected practicum on the student’s planned career
Engaging in medical campaigns is a step taken to improve the health status of a community alongside developing the skills and experience of the participants. At the same time, interacting with patients suffering from different infectious diseases is the best experience a student in practice can ever mention in a nursing course (Garris, Madden & Rodgers, 2008, p. 19). The practicum as already stated offered the much needed opportunity to match the skills learnt in classroom with the kind of services offered to patients in real life situations.
Usefulness of the selected practicum
The practicum brought all the nursing students closer to establishing an executive community, and through constant engagement in collaborative works, we are able to create a culture of excellence. It is important to note that student’s excellence in performance is the major reason why most universities go to an extent of interacting and forming relationships of collaborative synergies with big hospitals with an objective of providing practicum experiences for graduate and undergraduate nurses. Proper engagement through preceptor partnership offered the students an invaluable opportunity to understand in details the real world perspectives of nursing and how to apply the experience of the practicum in handling patients throughout the processes of diagnosis and treatment (Garris, Madden & Rodgers, 2008, p. 19). In general, the practicum offered relevant learning experiences that will be applicable in understanding the significance of project administrative leaderships, and how such leadership experiences can be made to be in line with the community strategic goals of better health outcomes. Similarly, the practicum became a single tool a person can use to note the various challenges a health care organization is facing and the possibility of making a service delivery plan such as evidenced-based strategy successful in meeting the health care challenges (Garris, Madden & Rodgers, 2008, p. 19). I was able to understand the data, legal framework, or ethical implications health care organizations use to improve performance as a way of meeting the productivity objectives for both local and international health institutions. In this course of skill development, I stood that there exists a better chance of developing various projects. Such projects are related to the goals of the practicum assignment, personal area of interest and agency’ desires. The projects once approved will become an integral part of my work developed during a learning experience, and extensive application of such projects in health care institutions may improve operational standards.
Impact and relevance of the selected practicum
The general performance and individual commitment towards improving community health remains relevant in ensuring growth through experience. Ireland Army Community Hospital presents different leveled operations that best suit student’s desires to learn and understand the nursing environment (Garris, Madden & Rodgers, 2008, p. 22). With equal engagement in field activities and other researches, we were able to compare our health findings with some of the existing theories, and utilize such findings to develop a complete model for improving health conditions. Otherwise, the impact of the practicum remains similar to its usefulness as already mentioned. The only area that needed to be explored for the purpose of understanding the validity of the selected practicum was its relevance towards career development, especially in a nursing profession (Garris, Madden & Rodgers, 2008, p. 23). The selected practicum became relevant in a nursing profession because it allowed learners to apply appropriate principles of management in establishing and executing project policies. The practicum also allowed learners to apply nursing theories in real world situations, a process that leads to skill development.
The practicum with Ireland Army Community Hospital became the foundation for analyzing the impact of a nursing service in a community, and how relevant the concepts learnt in class can aid towards the formulation of a process that health institutions can use to provide solutions to rising challenges. The practicum was also considered relevant to a nursing profession because it developed skills that can be used to evaluate the results of a particular project based on the project’s purpose and objectives (Garris, Madden & Rodgers, 2008, p. 14). For example, I was in a position to develop a project that could be used by the army during their campaigns against influenza. The project became a better tool I could use to understand the challenges nurses and other medical officers experience in line of their duties. This is because of the technicality of operation, especially where a community faces instantaneous disease outbreak like flu, cholera and typhoid. In such cases, I was compelled to adjust the learning projects to fit or offer the best solutions during such field research.
Recommendation for the future direction of practicum agency
A nursing student practicum project must be analyzed within the context of quality and safety of skills, leadership and strategic planning. In this connection, all the projects developed by a student must be considered to have value to both health care institutions and relevant training centers (Schachter & Schwartz, 2009, p. 33). The student taking a practicum course must be able to relate the theories learnt in classroom with real nursing experience for the purposes of developing skills, nurturing talents and ensuring growth in career. Therefore, the skills learnt during practicum must remain relevant to both national and international nursing experiences, and this requires higher concern for the various challenges faced like anxiety, men in nursing, evaluation experiences and cultural competencies (Schachter & Schwartz, 2009, p. 33). All the mentioned challenges can be controlled to improve student’s adaptability during their active involvement in the practicum.
From the experiences noted, anxiety was mentioned as one of the common denominators affecting student’s participation in a practicum. The first step towards eliminating anxiety is an individual’s purposeful engagement in order to improve learning experiences and improve individual’s ability to adapt to various environmental challenges. As much as studies recommend active participation from the student, the need to include health care institutions in this course becomes relevant. Health care institutions should also play a role by ensuring that a student is confident and have self-efficacy throughout the practical learning experiences. The ability to reduce anxiety within a student in both classroom and at clinical setting is a challenge most nurse educators experience (Schachter & Schwartz, 2009, p. 35). However, this process is considered as easy as taking the student on a tour and allowing him or her to become familiar with the learning environment and health care locations. Other relevant strategies that can be used to reduce anxiety during a practicum include providing numerous learning activities and engagement in field research in a way that improves self-confidence in the student. Even though most studies do not provide strategies to address issues of learning for men in most nursing programs, the student must always be ready to conduct extensive research on the importance of having an inclusive strategy for both men and women in nursing profession. The international nursing standards and work ethics advocate for active involvement in all areas of operation, and the best a student can do is to open up for study that is controlled by experience rather than gender.
Evaluation of the overall practicum
From the various discussions presented in this report, the overall performance of the student during the practicum can be termed to be in line with the derived concepts of health planning. The practicum impacted the most vital areas of skill development such as building health care behavior, ensuring industrial hygiene and laboratory cleanliness as well as improving the general health status of the surrounding community (Turner, 2014, p. 41). The practicum was considered highly relevant in transforming the behavior of the student and equipping the student with the various tasks ahead. Some of the transformed behaviors included the ability to apply classroom work in real life practices, improved analytical skills, and improved ability to conduct research, evaluate the cause of a particular health issue and design a framework or a process that health care workers can use to improve the safety of the entire population.
Nursing students must be taught to remain responsible, and while in the field, they should be able to take accurate measures in order to prevent chances of infection. This means that the student must learn to be confident since any panic may lead to spillages or surface contact with the disease causing bacteria and infectious viruses (Turner, 2014, p. 43). The practicum with the Ireland Army Community Hospital provided the best nursing experiences to the student who took part in campaign against influenza, organization of duties, development of a work plan as well as increasing record keeping experiences and drawing of the first health care pamphlet.
In partnership with other health care institutions, the student and other stakeholders, Ireland Army Community Hospital’s dream of providing better medical service to patients became true. Apart from the normal operations of regular health workers, the student was able to contribute to the hospital’s success by adding important services to the range of resources (Turner, 2014, p. 46). One important experience as far as joint venture is concerned with the partnership between Ireland Army Hospital and Public Health and Occupational Health department, which enabled the two systems to promote better medical outcomes and full implementation of health care policies relevant for improving the health status of the whole society. The students in partnership with health workers from the two health care units were able to operate as a single entity charged with the full responsibility of ensuring efficient and sufficient release of medical services to the surrounding community. This was after the study revealed that Fort Knox was experiencing instances of influenza infections and other related diseases.
In general, Ireland Army Community hospital offers a strong base for student’s practicum and directly creates responsible nursing behavior among health students and young professional. As already mentioned, the institution is fully responsible for the health of the members of the Armed Forces and extends its services to families registered with the National Defense Medical Service Centers (Flynn, Sandfort & Selden, 2001, p. 23). This means that the institution values quality performance among its employees and any other party who would want to take an active role in the activities of the Hospital. As much as the Hospital is responsible for the health of all members of the Armed Forces, employees and medical practitioners must be able to provide medical services in a way that meets the targets of family members of the Armed Forces as well as improving the health status of the State’s reservists and veterans.
Following the desire to involve all the health care stakeholders, the community hospital works on a collaborative model, and aims at linking the health desires of stakeholders across Fort Knox and Armed Forces community. The practicum report reveals that the community hospital enhances its health care program by including the services of the community, students in practice, and their respective Medical Commandants (Campbell & Lambright, 2011, p. 13). The report also reveals that the student took an important responsibility of providing basic healthcare services to members of the community, members of the Armed Forces, close relatives and family members. Some of the health care services offered in this case included primary care for the old, specialized care services for the disabled, health services for the inmates and general public health services (Campbell & Lambright, 2011, p. 13). During fieldwork and health campaigns, the student was given the opportunity to participate in activities such as blood screening, vaccination against influenza virus, general health maintenance and treatment for prisoners. The student realized that the community of Fort Knox is highly vulnerable and any slight infection could create more health damages. With such a vulnerable community, the Ireland Army Community Hospital in collaboration with other health care institutions and the teaching fraternity must ensure consistent and high quality health service deliveries to both the infected and non-infected members.
Based on the outlined performance objective of the community hospital, the student during the practicum had to respond by securing the best health care outcomes for the officers and their families while maintaining a lower cost of delivery. The practical experiences, the cost experiences and the ability to develop good communication skills in a nursing environment are the most specific reasons why I decided to engage in a practicum (Campbell & Lambright, 2011, p. 17). The health institution chosen for the practicum must have a performance system that responds to both national and international nursing values and standards so that a person can compare well with other nurse from different parts of the world. The nursing profession is based on universal standards of operation and any new process developed must give a platform to learn and share experiences.
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