Summer 2014 Blog #1- Poverty Simulation

Greetings to everyone involved in undergraduate research this summer!

My name is Colleen, and this fall I will be starting my fourth and final year of the BSN nursing program. As my nursing advisor, professor Dr. Angela Northrup honored me with the opportunity to work close with her over the summer. Our research project focuses on evaluating the attitudes and empathy of undergraduate students towards those living in poverty, after completing a poverty simulation experience. The working title of the project is “Development of a research proposal to evaluate the effect of a Poverty Simulation Activity in first year students”.

The expected outcome of the project would include the development of a research proposal and the successive research that would be submitted for publication. This project will assist constructing a proposal to measure the effects of a poverty simulation designed to sensitize undergraduate students. Such valuable learning can provide college students with the positive attitudes and empathy needed in their careers and everyday lives.

In order to evaluate the effects of the simulation, the research project requires an assessment tool measuring student empathy towards those living in poverty, as well as, a tool measuring student attitudes. During the summer, my priority is to read through various research articles pertaining to our proposed study, and identify two validated assessment scales that have been used in numerous research designs and methodologies. Once two scales have been selected, I will contract the appropriate people to request permission for use of their tool in our project. The two assessment tools, one for empathy and one for attitudes, will be administered to students before the simulation experience and then again after completing it. The results will answer the research question of whether experiencing a poverty simulation effects the empathy and attitudes of undergraduate students towards those living in poverty.

The goal I wish to achieve with this project is the visualization of positive changes in empathy and attitudes of students towards impoverished individuals. It would be a wonderful opportunity to continue this project through the fall and spring of my senior year. This upcoming fall would be ideal for new freshmen students to experience the simulation. After completing the poverty simulation for the first time with students, I hope to review their post-assessment results and see their changes in both mind and heart. The positive effects of the simulation would be extremely encouraging, and would allow for the experience to be offered each semester. Overall, my wish for the project is significant results that would promote the use of the simulation for many years, even after I graduate.

Thanks for reading, and more will follow in August!

Colleen Spang

Author: Colleen

Senior Lienhard School of Nursing RN4 - BSN Program Graduation May 2015

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