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Nursing students walking the walk of counteracting environmental health inequalities

Davies, J. (2015). Nursing students walking the walk of counteracting environmental health inequalities. Paper presented at the 52nd International Making Cities Livable Conference: Achieving Green Healthy Cities, 29 Jun - 3 Jul 2015, Bristol, UK.


Student nurses walk near where they will practice to reflect on healthy communities. They observe the three dimensional real world using all five senses. This innovative approach to learning was commended by the UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council and favourably evaluated by students as one of the best parts of their first year. In theory classes students learn about health inequalities, social determinants of health and the healthy cities movement. Feedback from their walks suggest students are actively improving health. They add to the walkability of the neighbourhood, meet and talk to the people they will care for when they are in practice, learn about the space where they will later encourage people to walk, and they get to walk and meet each other. Walks are the basis for the student assignment. The method draws on health workers’ long established practice of ‘walking the patch’ and their need to observe and document what was noticed in clinical settings. The walk provides an opportunity to observe both old and new public health challenges and initiatives, from drainage systems upwards. The instructions given to the student to walk about in a group, observing, notice and conversing comes have been developed from those used with MBA students where the method has been developed primarily to disrupt traditional transmissive learning. While this is valuable to the education of nursing students, as a public health healthcare students can contribute to improving the environment.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
Text - Accepted Version
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