Nursing + Equestrian = An immersive learning experience to remember.
Stephens faculty often work together, across departmental bounds, to provide students with extraordinary hands-on learning experiences they won't find anywhere else.
In a new collaboration between the Nursing and Equestrian Studies programs, our Nursing students were able to visit the Stables for some quality time with the horses. The goal (aside from a little horse medicine) was to learn about non-verbal communication and behavior. This is a technique known as Equine-Assisted Learning.
It turned out to be an incredibly powerful experience for all involved.
"There have not been a lot of teaching experiences in which I have had as much joy as watching our students interact with one another and the horses," said Associate Professor Dr. Cathy Koetting, who brought her students to the Stables to meet with students in the Equine program. "[Our students described] how much they enjoyed their experience learning about their own nonverbal behavior and getting a chance to de-stress and experience interacting with the horses."
Students spent a quiet hour in the stables petting, brushing, and learning about the horses, as well as about the impact of their behavior on themselves and others. As future nurses, they will be able to use these skills daily with their patients.
"We had the most MAGICAL time yesterday!" said Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Equestrian Studies Sara Linde-Patel. "Watching the interactions between the students and the horses just reiterated how much our students and horses need each other."
Linde-Patel continued, "In this one hour I watched a group of women I had never met transform into smiles and laughter. The horses enjoyed this so much, and I loved watching our horses react in such authentic ways to women they had never met before. I could do this with all of our students all day every day!"
This appears to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, as dedicated faculty and program leaders are now working to formalize the immersive opportunity, making it a permanent part of both Nursing and Equestrian students' educational experience.
Looking ahead to Fall 2024, as we roll out the Block Schedule at Stephens, we are excited to create even more opportunities for immersive learning and cross-program partnerships.
Does this kind of immersive learning experience sound incredible? Are you interested in a research career in the animal sciences, human health & medicine, and foundational sciences? Excited by the thought of having both a living animal "laboratory" and a cutting-edge research lab at your fingertips?
The new Women in STEM Research at Stephens College (WiSR) program may be right for you! The mission of WiSR is simple and comprehensive: to advance the careers of women passionate about scientific research. Now accepting applications for Fall 2024. Spots are limited!