Over 600,000 people die annually from heart disease in the United States. This comes out to be one in every four Americans will die from heart disease every year. Which break it down even further, means every 43 seconds someone in the United States is having a heart attack. (CDC, 2015). This paper will discuss a teaching experience in a community that needed education on heart disease. Furthermore, this paper will include a summary of the teaching plan, the epidemiological rational for teaching heart disease, an evaluation of the experience, the community’s response as well as the strengths and weaknesses in the teaching process.
Summary of Teaching Plan
After assessing the educational needs of the community of Wake County, North Carolina, the topic of heart disease, primary prevention and health promotion, was decided as an area that the local population needed to be taught. Wake County has a higher population of elderly people (Wake County Community Health Needs Assessment Report, 2013) who don’t have the means to obtain preventative education. Many of the elderly have co-morbidities with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and renal failure. The Community Teaching Work Plan Proposal was completed, an outline was prepared and both were reviewed and discussed with Reverend Sue Halford of First Christian Church. Reverend Sue Halford granted approval for the community teaching experience and assisted with the scheduling and invitations to the heart disease information forum.
Epidemiological Rationale for Topic
In Wake County, heart disease is the second leading cause of death (Wake County Human Services Public Health Division, 2014). While the majority of Wake County has health insurance, many of the smaller surrounding communities do not. These small surrounding communities receive their health care in Wake County (Wake County Community Health Needs Assessment Report, 2013). Also, 59.6% of Wake County’s population is considered overweight or obese (Wake County Human Services Public Health Division, 2014), which is a risk factor for heart disease. Preventative education is important in health care now. The country’s highest death rate from heart disease is in the Southeastern United States (CDC, 2015).
Evaluation of Teaching Experience
In preparation, a Power Point presentation was created using clear, simple terms that everyone would be able to understand. The Power Point was eye catching with pictures and graphics. On May 20, 2015 at 6:00 pm, the educational forum was held in one of the bible study classrooms at First Christian Church. A laptop computer was set up to project the Power Point presentation onto an overhead screen. The chairs were arranged in a visually accommodating manner. Handouts containing slides of the Power Point presentation were available to assist with any visual impairment issues.
The handouts were also provided for the participants to use as a future reference and also to share with their family and friends. Participants began arriving approximately 15 minutes prior to start time. They were greeted in a friendly manner and told the forum would be very casual and to feel free to ask questions at any time. There were nine participants in total with four white males, two white females, two African American females and one Asian male. All participants reported having at least one of the risk factors for heart disease.
After welcoming the participants, the educational forum began. The teacher started the presentation with a question to get everyone thinking about the possible risk factors and complications of heart disease. She began with “I have a question. How many people in here have ever experienced some sort of chest pain?” The teacher went on to explain that chest pain is nothing to take lightly and should always seek medical attention. There are many risk factors to heart disease, and they will be explained in this presentation. The Power Point was presented with notes attached to each slide. There were no questions asked during the presentation.
The presentation was closed and the teacher thanked everyone for coming. Then questions were asked and participation was rewarded with heart shaped stress balls. Hard candy and ink pens were laying out for anyone to have during the presentation. Questions were answered and an evaluation tool was filled out by each participant. As the participants left the classroom, they again were thanked for coming and participating in this educational forum. The educational forum ended at approximately 7:15 pm, with the teacher leaving around 7:30 after cleaning up everything and leaving the classroom the way she found it.
While the teacher was cleaning up the classroom, one of the participants was still there and came up to the teacher to tell her about her experience with heart disease. The participant stated that his wife had suffered a heart attack and is no longer living now. He stated that if he had only known the risk factors and signs and symptoms of a heart attack prior to hers, he maybe could have helped her sooner. He became very emotional and was tearful while talking about his wife. He thanked the teacher again for educating them on heart disease.
Community Response to Teaching
The educational forum was successful. The participants complimented the teacher on the Power Point presentation and their overall experience. The objectives provided were evaluated by questions asked at the end of the power point presentation. The goals and objectives set for this educational forum were successfully met. The evaluation tool revealed that the participants felt that they were provided with adequate information in a professional manner.
The only area that was given anything other than an excellent on was for some of the print on certain slides was too small and some participants felt the classroom was too cold. There was interest expressed in further educational forums as well. A larger group of participants would have assisted with the discussions after the power point presentation. Furthermore, a more diverse group of participants would have allowed for a broader range of questions. The church’s classroom where the educational forum took place was adequate. The church had most equipment needed for this presentation, which allowed for an error free Power Point presentation.
All of the participants were over the age of 50. The information provided to them was to assist them in recognizing the risk factors of heart disease within themselves to hopefully make lifestyle changes gradually. The education was also to make them more knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms and risk factors of heart disease and to know when to seek medical advice. The Power Point presentation seemed to be well received, but the lifestyle changes that need to happen to decrease their risk of heart disease is questionable. There would need to be follow-up care made to discover if a difference was made or not.
Areas of Strengths and Areas of Weaknesses
There were many areas of strengths noted in this educational forum. The communication between the teacher and the participants was open, honest and flowed well. The Power Point presentation was very informative. It was simple, clear and concise and visually appealing. Everyone liked the heart shaped stress balls and thus encouraged involvement. The teacher found the evaluation tool to be very helpful for any further Power Point Presentations.
A few areas of weaknesses were also noted. Looking back on this project, the initial meeting with Reverend Sue Halford should have taken place sooner. Also, advertisement for the educational forum may have brought a larger crowd, particularly if it was done earlier. The advertisement for the educational forum also could have been posted in more wide spread locations to reach more people in the community.
Primary prevention and health promotion for heart disease is needed in many communities being that it is a leading cause of death among Americans. Teaching the members of this community to call or ask for help immediately when experiencing any signs and symptoms of a heart attack, will allow for earlier treatment and a better prognosis. Going out and teaching within the community is a great way to reach individuals. More educational forums could be held at community centers, clinics, churches and even work places. Even posting the signs and symptoms on social media would be helpful. Teaching the risk factors early in life, such as in school, would be helpful to allow for lifestyle changes sooner rather than later.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Heart Disease. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/index.htm Wake County Community Health Needs Assessment Reports. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.wakegov.com/humanservices/data Wake County Human Services Public Health Division. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.wakegov.com/humanservices/data/documents/public/healthquarterlyreport
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