Community champions: A mixed methods study on volunteer recruitment and retention in community engagement

Caroline E. Benson, Jodi Feinberg, Amani Abdallah, Terri Lipman


Community engagement is an effective method of preparing nursing students to be influential providers for diverse patient populations. Over the course of the 2016-2017 academic year, volunteer attendance was recorded and a qualitative survey was distributed to evaluate attendance rates and retention of Community Champion volunteers, and to determine factors that contributed to the success and sustainability of the program. There was an 83% attendance rate overall at the community-based initiatives, with the highest attendance rate of 98% amongst initiative leaders. The following themes emerged from the qualitative surveys assessing retention: 1) Self motivation and enthusiasm among community members 2) diverse and interdisciplinary interactions 3) communication and organization and 4) student commitment barriers. Students with the greatest amount of experience with community engagement assumed more responsibility and dedicated the most amount of time to the program. The consistent commitment of volunteers to Community Champions has positively impacted the students’ academic careers and the sustainability of the community partnership. In order to optimize community programming, volunteer reliability, consistency and commitment are necessary.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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