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Document Type

Article

Abstract

The integration of community engagement learning experiences in nursing education promotes a commitment to social responsibility and service. A nursing department implemented learning experiences for undergraduate nursing students across five semesters in churches, schools, and community agencies. Focus group data and selected stories from undergraduate and graduate nursing students, nursing faculty, and community partners provided lessons for establishing effective academic-community partnerships. Lessons learned included: 1) time and academic expectations are constraints, 2) being in the community requires flexibility, 3) working side by side develops relationships, 4) the community teaches faculty and students, and 5) the learning curve needs to be recognized. The lessons learned provide guidelines for nursing faculty and community partners in creating and sustaining partnerships that contribute to educating nurses for practice in a diverse society.

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