Engaged Civic Learning

We believe a person's zip code should not determine the quality of their health care, and in a free society, access to care —and decision-making regarding one’s care— are basic rights, not privileges. Engaged civic learning has significant, positive impact on nursing students' confidence, social skills, appreciation of diversity, and ability to cultivate relationships. Students become better equipped to recognize the causes and innovative solutions to complex social problems, while they develop critical workplace skills and practice their voices as professional nurses. They become effective change agents by participating in direct service, capacity building, advocacy, and research.

Immersed in the community

Our students become immersed in the community – locally, across the region, and around the globe through service learning journeys to Belize, Brazil, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, and South Africa. We build engaged civic learning into our nursing curriculum, connecting campus resources with people and social enterprises in the community, with the goal of enriching students' lives and encouraging them to become champions of well-being.

Curriculum Development: Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers
Dr. Marie O’Toole and Dr. Jeff Brenner of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers work together to promote nursing students’ interest in community health starting in the first-year of courses, and further develop that interest across all levels of scholarship. Along with Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden's Dr. Renee Caldwell and Camden Coalition's Dr. Deborah Riddick, they have built a curriculum that weaves together inter-professional and coordinated care, public health workforce development, social determinants of health, and non-traditional clinical settings.

Focus on Pre-Schoolers: Healthy Head Start
Professor Kathy Prihoda immerses nursing students in the community through engaged civic learning with a special focus on at-risk, pre-school populations. Prihoda and her students deliver health outreach and education through partnerships with Head Start programs led by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, N.J. and the Center for Family Services, which provides Head Start in the city of Camden and across Camden County, New Jersey.

Faculty-Practice Partnership: Project H.O.P.E. at Cathedral Kitchen
Professor Kathy Jackson is collaborating with Project H.O.P.E. at its Cathedral Kitchen satellite in Camden on a faculty-practice partnership that will expand the school's public health curriculum and allow students to gain experience with providing primary care to a vulnerable population. Project H.O.P.E. has assisted more than 11,000 homeless persons in their journey to permanent housing and self-sufficiency for over a dozen years. It is unique in that it is the only provider of medical services specifically for the homeless in Camden County and one of five Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) homeless projects in New Jersey.

Food Deserts: New Jersey Farmers Against Hunger and Housing Authority of the City of Camden
Professor Kathy Jackson has a long history of collaboration with social enterprises in City of Camden, N.J. In 2015, she began a partnership with New Jersey Farmers Against Hunger and the Housing Authority of the City of Camden to make fresh produce affordable and accessible across neighborhoods in Camden, considered one of the nation's worst food deserts.

Innovative Sustainability:  Get Healthy Camden
Dr. Marie O’Toole serves on the Executive Committee of Get Healthy Camden, a project of the Camden Collaborative Initiative, a consortium of agencies between governmental, non-profit, private, and community-based agencies that plan and implement innovative strategies to improve the quality of life in Camden. One recent initiative includes connecting common interests and goals around the New Jersey Department of Health's State Health Assessment Data (NJSHAD) System, which provides access to public health datasets, statistics, and information on the health status of New Jerseyans.

Having fun while doing good

Today, there is a growing movement of committed nurses who bring healing and health equity to underserved communities all across the country and the world. More than ever, nurses are using their influence and knowledge to advance the frontlines of heath care practice, policy, and patient outcomes. Our Rutgers–Camden Student Nurses' Association (SNA) is a local, student-run organization that encourages students to expand their roles as nurse leaders and patient advocates by working to make a positive impact on people who live in Camden, N.J. The SNA supports classmates and promotes health equity by forging partnerships with social enterprises such as soup kitchens, places of worship, and community groups in the City of Camden and beyond.