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Concordia University Ann Arbor’s School of Nursing recently conducted a poverty simulation that presented 65 students with tough questions related to the topic: What if you only had a $10 bill for the month to meet your family’s basic needs? How does living in poverty look when you are a senior citizen, disabled, or receive federal assistance?

Called the Community Action Poverty Simulation, the simulation was designed to help students understand the realities of poverty by putting them in the shoes of a person who lives in poverty. According to University of Michigan Poverty Solutions, during 2017, 12.7 percent of people living in the US had incomes below the poverty line. The experience was intended to help nursing students learn to more empathetically and effectively provide care to future patients in these scenarios.

Nursing students interacted with “participants” who played the roles of bill collectors, job interviewers, grocers, police officers, teachers, and more. During the three-hour simulation, nursing students were given scenarios and had to find a way to provide shelter and basic necessities on a limited budget over the course of four weeks.

Anita Simmons, the School of Nursing’s director of simulation, said in a press release, “We are thrilled by the way this program helped our nursing students understand the complexities and frustrations of living in poverty day to day. With a greater awareness of its impact, our students will be able to more effectively address poverty issues when working with patients.”

The Concordia University Ann Arbor School of Nursing requires students to spend 90 minutes per week in simulation labs like the poverty simulation one. To learn more about the university’s simulation program, visit here.

Join the editors of Evidence-Based Physical Examination: Best Practices for Health and Well-Being Assessment—Kate Sustersic Gawlik, Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, and Alice M. Teall—to learn how an evidence-based approach lays the groundwork for the integration of wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention, ensuring patient safety and high-quality cost-effective care.


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