A team of our Nursing students carried out an international community project with a small town in England.
Bishop's Castle is a beautiful historic town in Shropshire, on the border with Wales. It has a population of about 1900 people, many of whom have to travel elsewhere for work and to access health services. A personal connection with the Chair of the Bishop's Castle Community Partnership led to a collaboration with a team of 12 final year Bachelor of Nursing students in New Zealand.
Under the supervision of Associate Professor Jean Ross, the students gathered primary data through emails and a videoconference with key members of the community as well as using secondary data and reviewing relevant literature. They identified three health needs to focus on:
- Transportation: Disabled parks in Bishop's Castle were being used by those without a permit to do so. The students wrote a submission to the Shropshire Council, recommending clearer identification of disabled parking, increased enforcement for incorrect use of the parks, and increased education about why correct use is important, to ensure mobility impaired members of the community can access facilities. They drafted a flyer which could be printed and left on the windscreen of cars in disabled parks without a permit.
- Mental health: Social and physical isolation in rural communities can affect mental health. The students made a submission to the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group that a mental health nurse be employed in Bishop's Castle. They also designed a poster for display in the community and a message to print on a brain-shaped stress ball, to encourage people to take care of their mental health.
- Physical health: To boost healthy eating and physical activity, the students suggested Bishop's Castle consider developing a community garden. They also designed a poster, a coaster and a fridge magnet to encourage people to grow their own vegetables.
The international aspect of the collaboration increased learning both ways, as the students had to understand differences between the UK and NZ, and could use New Zealand experience to inform their recommendations to benefit this community.