Dr. Mellisa Hall is the chair of the Master of Science in Nursing program. She has been teaching since 2005 and is interested in “working with students to focus on a variety of clinical practice concerns, including geriatric conditions. Eighteen credit hours out of the entire 42 hour MSN program involves service learning. These graduate students complete 665 hours of service learning experiences during the last year of the program.
Dr. Hall teaches two classes incorporating service learning, Primary Care of Families (NURS 654) and Primary Care of Adults and Elders (NURS 684). Primary Care of Families is an outpatient clinical experience within the curriculum. 60-75 graduate students in 39 different states set up their own clinical sites with faculty approval. These clinics benefit medically underserved areas and see patients with low socioeconomic statuses, patients who are uninsured, and patients negatively affected by the Affordable Care Act. The students see all different age groups from birth to oldest-old.
Dr. Hall requires the students to reflect weekly on their experience, and the importance of serving these communities, which prepares them for future careers. Students are then able to secure jobs based on these clinical sites helping the community partner. These graduate students can take on clinical students in the future, repeating the cycle, and bringing on more service learning experiences. The cycle continues with each class.
Dr. Hall states that you cannot separate teaching and service learning. Students would not be able to perform their job responsibilities to the best of their abilities without the service learning piece. USI is proud of the work done by Dr. Hall and her graduate students to benefit communities across the country.