Nursing Students Participate in Poverty Simulation Exercise

Augustana nursing students participate in a poverty simulation exercise.

As part of the Poverty Simulation exercise, nursing students were grouped into "families" living in poverty conditions. From there, they were asked to role-play through various "real-life" situations requiring them to work with mock agencies such as a mortgage office, school, health care center, utilities center, an employment agency, and more.

Augustana nursing students got to experience some of the stresses of living in poverty on Friday during a Poverty Simulation exercise held inside the Froiland Science Complex. 

Organized by the Augustana nursing department, in collaboration with community partners from Minnehaha County Health and Human Services, the Center of Hope, and the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Department, the exercise was designed to help participants begin to understand what life is like with a shortage of money and an abundance of stress.

During the simulation, nursing students from Augustana and the University of South Dakota role-played the lives of low-income families, including single parents, people with disabilities, and senior citizens on Social Security. 

The point, organizers said, was to show future nurses that all patients – no matter their social, demographic, or economic backgrounds – deserve the best care possible.

"The reality is, living in poverty is incredibly stressful."

— Karla Abbott
Assistant Professor of Nursing at Augustana

"This exercise shows students just how stressful it is. It allows them to see some of the challenges people living in poverty face," Abbott said. "Ultimately, we want these future nurses to understand that all patients deserve respect and the best care possible."