Goshen’s nursing department is taking active learning situations seriously as it gets ready to host the 39th Annual Nursing Mock Convention.
The mock convention, to be held on Friday, Feb. 5, will begin with a keynote address by Sherry Wenger, the associate professor of nursing. Wenger will be speaking on the convention’s theme, “Mandate for Nursing: Health Promotion and Justice in Health Care.”
The mock convention is a simulation of a nurse’s convention designed to teach students leadership skills and to increase knowledge of important issues in the nursing field.
“Nursing has a long history of applying the theory that learning happens best when one gets the learner actively involved in a simulated or real situation,” said Mervin Helmuth, associate professor of nursing.
Helmuth, along with some of his colleagues, came up with the idea of a mock convention in 1973 while attending the Indiana State Nurses Association Convention. According to Helmuth, one of the goals of the mock convention is to give students an “opportunity to learn leadership concepts while discussing current nursing issues in a convention format.”
A lot of planning and preparation goes into the mock convention. Sitting on this year’s Executive Board are Trish Hershberger (president), Michelle Kaufman (vice president), Jocelyn Miller (secretary) and Allison Kauffman (executive director), all seniors. The board holds meetings each week during the fall to discuss plans, including a theme for the convention, choose speakers, plan the convention day and arrange for publicity.
The convention also includes exhibits from organizations and businesses pertaining to nursing. The Exhibits Committee is in charge of organizing the displays and developing “creative learning activities.”
In the fall semester leading up to the convention, nursing students are divided into districts consisting of eight to ten students and one faculty member.
Each district focuses on a nursing-related topic. Students then review literature and write a resolution. A committee then selects resolutions to be debated at the mock convention. This year’s resolutions are healthcare futility, a required HPV test for all girls and federal funding for abortion.
Using parliamentary procedure, resolutions are presented and debated at the convention. Amendments are made to each resolution when necessary, and the resolution is either passed or dismissed. Parliamentary procedure is new to many of the students and forces them to voice their opinions in a structured form.
At the end of the convention an election is held for the next year’s Executive Board. The convention wraps up with an evening banquet with desserts and prizes, and the new Executive Board members are announced. Final copies of resolutions that affect local health care agencies (i.e. hospitals) are sent to them.
The mock convention is not just used as a learning guide for students, but also for faculty to evaluate the nursing program.
According to Helmuth, “the nursing department has made a few curriculum changes based on strong feelings expressed by students at Mock Convention.”
The mock convention begins on Feb. 5 at 7:45 a.m. in the Church Fellowship Hall.