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Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, v9 n2 p91-105 2004

This paper describes a project in which faculty collaborated with two agencies to facilitate student learning about communication with elders. Data on student learning was collected via survey, focus groups, and reflective writing. Survey results showed that the five most important benefits students rated themselves as gaining from the service-learning experience were volunteering to help others, improving oral communication skills, helping others, developing new skills, and developing awareness of social problems. Themes derived from focus group interviews were "you learn how to act" and "a different dimension of a person." Analysis of data revealed that service-learning helps beginning nursing students improve oral communication skills with elders, develop sensitivity to aging issues, and make the transition to a clinical course focused on aging.

Descriptors: Service Learning, Older Adults, Interpersonal Communication, Agency Cooperation, School Community Programs, Volunteers, Speech Communication, Skill Development, Focus Groups, Nursing Students, Nursing Education, Aging (Individuals), Consciousness Raising, College Students, Interviews, Qualitative Research, Statistical Analysis

Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, University of Georgia and the Institute of Higher Education. Treanor House, 1234 South Lumpkin Street, Athens, GA 30602. Tel: 706-542-6167; Fax: 706-542-6124; e-mail: jheoe[at]; Web site:

Autor: DeLuca, Ellen; Andrews, Linda; Hale, Patty


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