The St. Luke nursing program kicked off the 2015-2016 academic year one week early this year as visiting American nurses came to teach classes to incoming third and fourth year nursing students. American nursing teams and the St. Luke nursing administration have been collaborating since 2013 on curriculum development and supplemental training opportunities for the students, and this collaboration came to fruition as nine nurses, one physical therapist, and one physician visited the school for the week to share knowledge on a variety of subjects with a focus on pathophysiology, assessment skills, pharmacology, and a holistic approach to patient care. The courses encouraged active practicing of clinical decision making through case scenarios, simulation, and experiential discussion.
Lily, a rising third-year nursing student, said that the week helped supplement her knowledge gained in her nursing curriculum by emphasizing practical applications and hands-on skills practice. She especially enjoyed the neonatal resuscitation class, provided in partnership with Midwives for Haiti, in which Haitian midwives taught specific techniques for emergency infant resuscitation. Lily is currently living at Father Wasson’s Angels of Light (FWAL) campus while she attends nursing school, and she grew up at the NPH home in Kenscoff. Growing up with so many other children, she was inspired to pursue pediatric nursing as a way to help comfort and relieve the suffering of children undergoing medical care. She thinks that this week has given her a stronger foundation for her third year of school, and she hopes to participate again next year.
Alda, another rising third-year student, echoed those hopes, and she too felt that her learning was enhanced by the chance to have hands-on skills practice. She particularly enjoyed the class on best practices for physically transferring patients to different positions or locations, taught by Rachel Prusynski, a physical therapist from Seattle, WA. Alda also enjoyed the neonatal resuscitation course, and she is interested in specializing in women’s health. She enjoys working with mothers to ensure that their children come into the world in good health, and she says that the discussions during the training helped her better understand ways to communicate effectively with future patients.
Overall, the training program fostered great discussion on the nuances of nursing in Haitian and American cultures, comparisons of the roles of doctors, nurses, and patients across the two different healthcare systems, and the importance of collaboration and exchange of knowledge. Both the nursing students and the group of nursing instructors from the U.S. are eager to continue and grow this partnership in the future!