Essentials in Nutrition

Introduction

This paper evaluates a nursing lesson plan for a course titled, “Essentials in Nutrition”. It is a lesson offered to nursing students to provide a scientific and background understanding of their work. It also aims to make them capable of coming up with informed decisions about patient health diagnosis and transformation as part of a nurse’s duty to provide health care services to the community. This paper evaluates the essentials in the nutrition module, which is provided in nursing education. The evaluation will happen according to recommendations by Kitano (1997). The aim is to judge the effectiveness of the module through careful appraisal to determine whether it adheres to the needs of a multicultural society. Therefore, the objective of the evaluation follows the principal intentions of the nursing module and the underlying needs presented by the student and instructor diversity.

Content

The lesson provides traditional mainstream and scientific knowledge and perspectives for students to grasp. It offers a synthesis of information from different authors who confirm basic scientific knowledge on nutrition. In this regard, the module is mainly exclusive in terms of its content. Student Nurses are expected to sit in and absorb the concepts delivered by instructors. They should support the provided perspectives and stereotypes. There are examples used in teaching as part of its attachments to real-life situations to equip the student nurse with a practical outlook of the module. They will range from a show of healthy communities to depictions of unhealthiness and malnutrition. This aspect of the module gives instructors and students an opportunity to understand general stereotypes about individual health choices for different communities. There is a potential for nursing students to go on using the stereotype views to influence their decision-making during their nursing practice. Nurse students learn about digestion, absorption, metabolism, and nutritional assessment. They also learn about nutritional assessment, therapeutic diet, and nutrition during the life cycle.

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Instructional Strategies and Activities

There is a mainstream use of lectures to instruct students. Lectures are interactive, where teachers allow students to pose questions and make suggestions or comment on materials discussed and presented in the lecture. Instructors also use data to show presentations and overhead transparencies to give illustrations during lectures. Students also engage in group work, where they are expected to develop a health education module as part of their self-learning assignments.

Assessment of Student Knowledge

Students receive oral and written assessments on their knowledge and understanding of psychological and cultural aspects of eating. They identify essential nutrients and discuss health risks of obesity or dietary needs during pregnancy and lactation, as well as different kinds of therapeutic diets. Besides standard exams and papers, students also get assessed using interviews, group discussions, presentations, and other methods that allow students to come up with unique ways of explaining and demonstrating what they know. Based on the recommendations by Kitano (1997), this is an inclusive form of assessment of student knowledge.

Classroom Dynamics

The module focuses exclusively on the content and does not intend to delve into social issues. However, the instructor is free to provide social examples to aid the understanding and improve the participation of students. There is no apparent identification of diverse needs in the lecture. There is no room for challenging the scientific and other theoretical underpinnings of the lecture. Instructors focus on ensuring that all students participate in group activities and demonstrate their input in assignments and understanding. Therefore, the classroom dynamic component of the module is inclusive in that it seeks to promote equity in student participation (Kitano, 1997).

The lesson plan reviewed above should incorporate several components that allow students to present findings or knowledge that may not be part of the theoretical and stereotypical understanding of the lesson content. If students are going to develop culturally competent skills that will allow them to work effectively in any location on the globe, then they need a culturally competent instruction framework. The research work by Luthy, Beckstrand, and Callister (2013) indicates that immersing students in one community clinical experience is helpful in assisting nursing students to develop community nursing and cultural competence. The use of abstract discussions and short-lived real-life experiences in many communities does not provide student nurses with enough time to develop an understanding and appreciation of their role and the role of the culture and community backgrounds they experience in shaping their overall nursing practice. However, immersive experience, even in one community, only provides students with comprehensive content that cements their attachment of classroom knowledge with socio-cultural circumstances that end up being useful in future career deployments in diverse communities (Luthy et al., 2013).

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In terms of instructional strategies and activities, the use of extensive community real-life learning experiences as suggested above would be helpful. In addition, the objectives of the lesson must improve to include cognitive, affective, and behavioral aspects. A good lesson, according to Long (2014), would be one that increases the self-efficacy of students. Lessons must move beyond the exclusive nature of the instruction and be transformed. Here, the student must be able to direct learning as much as he or she depends on the direction of learning presented by the instructor (Kitano, 1997). After providing theoretical underpinnings and lesson plans, instructors must also inform students of all opportunities for student input into the program. Moreover, the input must inform future learning in the same module. As much as instructors assess student performance, the students must also be able to access their progress and effectiveness of the lesson for their cultural competency benefit. International immersion programs that could be provided by technological platforms for interaction can allow students in the lessons to test their knowledge and interact with an adopted community throughout the module, which would be an appropriate instructional strategy and activity. At the same time, the nursing students will be able to challenge biased views, as they will interact with the members of communities that provide them with a test environment for exercising their judgments (Long, 2014).

As much as the lesson plans use the traditional essay format for assessment, they must also encourage student reflective writing. This should both be used as an evaluation tool and a lesson instruction tool. Students need to reflect on their study and its implications for the different cultural diverse concepts. Reflection serves as a good way to cement critical thinking among students (Melillo, Dowling, Abdallah, Findeisen, & Knight, 2013). Therefore, it will be a behavioral objective of the module, which should ensure that upon completion of the module, the nursing student or practitioner will be able to think critically. Questioning stereotypical traditional information concerning community practices, scientific instruction, and nursing practice is an essential ingredient for sustaining multicultural appreciation. Increased emphasis on reflective writing can increase cultural awareness and knowledge, observation and learning, and cross-cultural communication, thereby improving the outcomes of the nursing module (Kratzke & Bertolo, 2013).

The module should also introduce leadership roles for students compelling them to come up with new or alternative instructional material and seek to transform the module and its objectives. While this may not end up presenting a permanent change to the module, it will still serve as a way of encouraging critical thinking and positive scrutiny (Billings & Halstead, 2012). Students will also learn how their power and professional capabilities interact according to multicultural appreciation and opportunities present in their learning community. Instructors will also gain insight into the underlying thoughts of students from diverse backgrounds. This should inform them of any existing biases in instruction material that needs changing (Baernholdt, Drake, Maron, & Neymark, 2013).

Conclusion

The module on essentials in nutrition is comprehensive in its approach to the presentation of mainstream nutrition and health information. It links scientific information to observed cases in nursing practice and general health care. It also narrows focus on specific elements of nutrition, such as feeding during pregnancy. However, shortcomings in the module arise in its inclusion of student opinion and promotion of critical thinking. As much as it is compressive in the inclusion of alternative forms of instruction and assessment, it still provides little room for student unbiased input. There is a need to introduce more immersive community teaching without overbearing assessment goals so that students have the ability to work on self-efficacy and learning progress.

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References

Baernholdt, M., Drake, E., Maron, F., & Neymark, K. (2013). Fostering internationalization: an American–Danish semester‐long undergraduate nursing student exchange program. International Nursing Review, 60(2), 221-227.

Billings, D. M., & Halstead, J. A. (2012). Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders.

Kitano, M. K. (1997). What a course will look like after multicultural change. In A. I. Morey, & M. K. Kitano (Eds), Multicultural course transformation in higher education: A broader truth (pp. 18-34). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Kratzke, C., & Bertolo, M. (2013). Enhancing students’ cultural competence using cross-cultural experiential learning. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 20(3), 107-111.

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Long, T. (2014). Influence of international service-learning on nursing student self-efficacy toward cultural competence. The Journal of Nursing Education, 53(8), 474-478.

Luthy, K. E., Beckstrand, R. L., & Callister, L. C. (2013). Improving the community nursing experiences of nursing students. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 3(4), 12.

Melillo, K. D., Dowling, J., Abdallah, L., Findeisen, M., & Knight, M. (2013). Bring diversity to nursing: recruitment, retention, and graduation of nursing students. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 20(2), 100-104.

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