Social pediatrics in a baccalaureate nursing curriculum

Ranjit Dhari, Maura MacPhee, Matthew Pixton


This paper describes the use of social pediatrics in one baccalaureate nursing curriculum. Social pediatrics is a conceptual model that considers health as physical health and the social determinants of health. Social pediatrics focuses on community-based primary healthcare services for at-risk children and their families. The social pediatrics model is used by community early childhood education StrongStart sites in one Canadian province; these sites are collaborations between early childhood educators and public health nursing teams for children from infancy through five years of age. Acute care clinical placements are becoming too complex and limited in number to accommodate large undergraduate nursing cohorts. Our undergraduate nursing program recently shifted acute care pediatric placements to StrongStart sites, combining community pediatric and public health nursing learning objectives and learning activities that foreground social pediatrics. The acute care component of pediatric nursing includes classroom theory, clinical laboratory and virtual simulations. This paper describes social pediatrics integration within our undergraduate curriculum between 2018-2019; and a qualitative evaluation of our social pediatrics approach in 2019-2020. We used content analysis to identify common themes from interviews with key actors, including students’ clinical instructors, StrongStart sites’ early childhood educators and managers, and public health nurse managers affiliated with StrongStart sites. Common themes were related to social pediatrics learning opportunities and drawbacks; social pediatrics knowledge, skills and attitudes; and recommendations for curriculum enhancement.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

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

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