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Service Learning Project. Erin Burdi NURS 450:Capstone Ferris State University. Introduction. Service Learning is an important educational component to the RN-BSN program at Ferris State University .

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service learning project

Service Learning Project

Erin Burdi

NURS 450:Capstone

Ferris State University

  • Service Learning is an important educational component to the RN-BSN program at Ferris State University.
  • Nursing students are given the opportunity to learn first-hand about the roles and services that are offered in their community.
  • Service Learning provides an opportunity for students to give back to the community a fraction a their time and talents through volunteerism.


  • Identify a community organization in need of volunteer services.
  • Provide 20 hours of volunteer service to the agency by the completion of NURS 450.
  • Give a brief agency description that includes historical background & community services provided.
  • Describe my personal roles and volunteer service provided to the agency.
  • Provide a critical reflection & synthesis of my learning experiences with the agency as it relates to ANA Professional Standards of Practice & Ferris State University RN-BSN program objectives.
  • Give recommendations for future students seeking service learning experience through this agency.
the american red cross

The American Red Cross

Historical Background

Service Roles within the Community


Historical Background

  • Clara Barton has been credited as a founder of the American Red Cross Organization.
  • She was a pioneer in providing nursing services to sick and injured soldiers during the American Civil War in 1861.
  • Through her experience in the Civil War she identified the need for immediate personal services to soldiers that included: a sanctuary for nursing care, food, and clothing.
  • She organized a group of volunteer women to assist in providing these much needed services.
  • She learned how to collect, store, and distribute needed goods.
  • Her service experience in providing war time relief to soldiers and communities became the foundation on which the American Red Cross Disaster Relief effort was built.
  • Through her work with wounded soldiers, she gained a great deal of personal information about them.
  • She utilized this information at the end of the war to assist families in locating men that had been reported missing, a service that is still provided by the American Red Cross today.

(www.Red, 2006)


Historical Background

  • In 1869, Clara traveled to Geneva, Switzerland in search of reprieve.
  • It was in Geneva that Clara was introduced to the idea of the Red Cross.
  • She read A Memory of Solferino, a book written by Henry Dunant founder of the Red Cross Movement in Europe.
  • This movement advocated for international agreements for the protection of the sick & wounded, regardless of nationality, during wartime.
  • It also called upon voluntary national societies to render aid on a basis of neutrality.
  • This founded the basic principles of the Geneva Convention.
  • Inspired, Clara returned to the United States in 1877 and persistently lobbied congress for the ratification of the Geneva Treaty, which was signed in 1882.
  • In 1881, Clara and a group of supporters founded the first American Association of the Red Cross in Washington D.C.
  • In 1883, the organization was re-named The American National Red Cross.
  • In 1905, the American Red Cross was given the Congressional Charter under which it still operates today.

(www.Red, 2006)


Volunteer Services

  • To facilitate the completion of my Service Learning requirement, I chose to volunteer service through the American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids & The Ottawa County Chapter located in Holland, MI.
  • The American Red Cross offers a variety of volunteer opportunities to those willing to donate their time to community service
  • Transportation Appointment Driver
  • International Family Tracing Caseworker.
  • Disaster Readiness & Response Volunteers.
  • Registration Services.
  • P&PE Marketing Intern.
  • First Aid/CPR/AED/Blood born Pathogens Instructor.
  • Preparedness & Prevention Education Instructor.
  • Development Intern.
  • Heroes Campaign Sponsorship Committee.
  • Philanthropic Advisory Committee Member.
  • Prospect Research & Grant Writing Intern.
  • Heroes Event Coordinator.
  • Lifesavers Event Committee Member.
  • Community Visibility Events Support Team Head.
  • Community Visibility Events Support Team Member.
  • Services to Armed Forces Caseworker.
  • Readiness & Response Volunteer Manager.
  • World Refugee Day Coordinator.
  • Disaster Mental Health Associate.
  • Measles Initiative Board Members.
  • Disaster Services Community Correspondent.
  • EHL Marketing & Community Outreach Volunteer.
  • Client Caseworker.
  • International Student Relations Intern.
  • Office Skills Instructors.
  • Youth Services Project Planner.
  • Blood Drive Volunteer.

(www.Red, 2009)

personal volunteer service
Personal Volunteer Service
  • I selected two volunteer roles:
  • Blood Services Volunteer
  • Community Visibility Events Support Team Member.
  • The majority of my hours worked were through the Blood Services Department.
  • I selected these two roles for the following reasons:
  • They interested me.
  • Offered scheduling flexibility with my work & school schedules.
  • Provided me with an opportunity to utilize my nursing skills to benefit the organization.
volunteer roles responsibilities

Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities

Blood Services Volunteer.

Community Visibility Events Support.


Blood Services Volunteer

  • Roles & Responsibilities
  • Blood Services Mobile Unit Unloader/Room Setup/Reloader.
    • Probably the most physically demanding role within Blood services.
    • Arrive 2 hours prior to drive start time.
    • Assist mobile unit driver to quickly & safely unload, move , and set-up equipment from the service truck in the room(s) provided by the sponsor.
    • Breakdown & Reload equipment after the drive is finished.
  • Registration/Greeter.
    • Cheerfully greet donors.
    • Determine if the donor is a “first time donor”.
    • Handout appropriate name sticker (Green=1st time donors, Red= veteran donor).
    • Provide information packet & request donor read all eligibility information.
    • Answer questions & direct donors to appropriate station.
  • Canteen Server/Observer.
    • Greet donors at the refreshment station.
    • Seat donors immediately and offer refreshments.
    • Watch and assess donors for any negative reactions from donating.
    • Report to head nurse if any donor should show signs of dizziness or bleeding.
    • Answer questions.
    • Thank donors.
    • Keep canteen area stocked and clean.

(www.Red, 2009)


Community Visibility Events Support Team Member

  • Roles & Responsibilities
  • Work with other volunteer team members and team leader to staff Red Cross participation in community events such as fairs, festivals, parades, etc.
  • Increase public awareness of Red Cross Services through communication with the general public & distribution of posters & flyers at targeted local events.
  • Coordinate site logistics and signage.
  • Increase overall community visibility and exposure for events.

(www.Red, 2009)

reflection synthesis of service learning experience

Reflection & Synthesis of Service Learning Experience

RN-BSN Program Objectives

American Nurses Association (ANA) Standards of Professional Nursing Practice

critical reflection
Critical Reflection
  • Initial Thoughts
    • Prior to my volunteer experience with the American Red Cross, I was aware that the organization provided blood donation services and some disaster relief efforts.
    • I was unaware of the extent of other services provided by the Red Cross.
  • Assumptions
    • Initially, I thought that having found an organization as large as the Red Cross, obtaining 20 volunteer service hours would be simple.
    • I learned that it is not easy to volunteer in this organization. There is an application process, criminal background check, and a 2 hour orientation process that must be completed.
    • I also found that opportunities to volunteer for events filled very quickly and were not as frequent as I had previously thought.

(www.Red, 2009)

critical reflection1
Critical Reflection
  • Information Attained
    • Prior to working with the American Red Cross , I was required to attend a two hour orientation process in which I learned a lot of information about the organization.
      • Historical Background and foundation of the Red Cross.
      • The various services that the organization provides to the community, as previously described.
      • The American Red Cross relies primarily on a volunteer work force.
      • 40% of the Nations blood supply comes from Red Cross Blood Donations..
      • Blood donations are accepted on a volunteer basis only.
      • The American Red Cross provides an exceptional screening process and health assessment prior to allowing a person to donate.
      • Donors are monitored in the canteen area closely for adverse effects of donating for a minimum of 15 minutes.
      • The American Red Cross collaborates with other National and global organizations like the Red Crescent and FEMA.
      • The American Red Cross employs registered nurses to work at blood drives.

(www.Red, 2009)

  • BSN Objectives
    • Professionalism:
      • Volunteers for The American Red Cross are screened for integrity and professionalism through an application process and criminal background check. A two hour orientation class is required in which the organizational mission and expectations are discussed. Volunteers are expected to dress and interact with other members & the general public in a professional manner in accordance with their signed agreement of the American Red Cross Code of Conduct.
      • This aligns with the ANA’s Practice Standard of Professional Practice Evaluation by meeting the competency of “interacting with peers and colleagues to enhance his/her own professional nursing practice or role performance”(ANA, 2010, p.59).
    • Collaborative Leadership:
      • The American Red Cross collaborates with National & global organizations like FEMA & Red Crescent to provide disaster relief services to communities. Volunteers through the Red Cross are required to work together in a collaborative manner to facilitate goals & services provided by the organization. For example, through my experience working in Blood Services I needed to work with registered nurses, donors, and other station volunteers to ensure that the blood drive ran smoothly.
      • This aligns with the ANA’s Practice Standard of Collaboration that states “the registered nurse engages in teamwork and team building processes . He/she adheres to standards & applicable codes of conduct that govern behavior among peers and colleagues to create a work environment that promotes cooperation, respect, & trust” (ANA, 2010,p.57).

BSN Objectives (con’t)

    • Generalist Nursing Practice:
      • I found that I was able to apply nursing process while volunteering as a Blood Services volunteer. When registering donors, I utilized assessment skills to evaluate the individuals’ physical eligibility and emotional readiness to donate. Working in the canteen/recovery area, I used physical assessment skills &nursing knowledge base to monitor & observe donors for adverse reaction signs & symptoms from donating.
      • This meets the ANA practice standard of Assessment in which “the registered nurse collect comprehensive data pertinent to the healthcare consumer’s health and/or situation”(ANA,2010,p.32).
    • Healthcare Environment:
      • Services provided by the American Red Cross improve quality and safety of the healthcare environment.
      • Transportation services are available, in which volunteers provide transportation to medical appointments to those in need. This ensures that members of the community receive appropriate primary medical care.
      • The American Red Cross provides lifesaving CPR& AED utilization classes to the general public.
      • Blood donation services ensures quality of blood supplied to healthcare organizations by vigorously screening donors & testing blood supplies prior to shipment.
      • This meets the ANA Professional Practice Standard of Health Teaching &Promotion that states that “the registered nurse employs strategies to promote health and a safe environment” (ANA, 2010, p.41).

BSN Objectives (con’t)

  • Scholarship for Practice
    • This Service Learning experience has provided me a look into yet another role that registered nurses fill in the community. The American Red Cross employs Agency RN’s to work at Blood Drives.
    • While there are not any formal education requirements or certifications required to volunteer for the Red Cross, as previously mentioned, the organization has an application process that includes a criminal background check, and provides necessary orientation classes for volunteers.
    • Educational Information provided by the organization is based on current, evidence-based practice.
  • Theoretical Base for Practice
    • I could not come up with a specific nursing theorist to describe my service learning experience with the American Red Cross.
    • The humanitarian efforts and services provided by the organization are nearly identical to the ideals of the health promotional ideals of the nursing profession.

I would recommend the American Red Cross for service learning experience with caution.

    • While I found my experiences relevant to the goals of service learning, I found working with the organizational administration to be highly disorganized & frustrating.
    • In order to complete my service learning hours I had to work with two chapters of the Red Cross, Ottawa County & Grand Rapids chapters.
    • My organizational contact person at the Grand Rapids Chapter has changed several times over the course of two years.
    • At one point, when e-mail communications with my contact person fell silent, I called to inquire about upcoming volunteer opportunities. The person in charge of Blood Services had no idea who I was, or who my contact person was.
    • I found out that my volunteer information was lost at the Grand Rapids Chapter and I had to re-apply & attend the orientation a second time. I then received another contact person and was also recommended to try the Ottawa County Chapter as well.
    • The Ottawa County Chapter was much more organized, I would strongly recommend anyone considering the Red Cross as a venue to go there.
    • I also found that volunteer opportunities fill up fast and are not nearly as frequent or convenient as I had thought.
  • American Nurses Association. (2010). Scope and Standards of Nursing Practice (2nd ed., p. 57). Silver Spring, MD: Nursing Standards.
  • The American Red Cross. (2009). Volunteer Opportunities at the American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids. From
  • The American Red Cross. (2008). Volunteer Handbook of Greater Grand Rapids. Retrieved from