Care is truly universal, crossing all continents and cultures. As president of Chamberlain College of Nursing's Cleveland campus, I have seen firsthand the importance of continually looking for opportunities to strengthen the global impact of a nurse's care. This year, one of these opportunities came to light in the Seychelles, which is a group of 115 islands off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean.
Proposing a New Initiative
I have worked extensively with the World Health Organization (WHO) on HIV research and education for many years. When I learned that the Seychelles did not have a university-level nursing program in its education system, I proposed that Chamberlain collaborate with the WHO on a new initiative to improve advanced nursing education in regions where both healthcare and educational opportunities were scarce.
We hoped that by creating access to advanced nursing education, local nurses would be better equipped to provide person-centered care to the island communities, transforming the way healthcare is provided and creating an improved culture of health.
To date, the WHO and Chamberlain leadership have made three trips to the Seychelles island of Mahi, which sources most of the healthcare resources for the entire country.
Educating Seychelles' Educators
During our trips to the island, Chamberlain was tasked with assessing the educational needs of nurses at Seychelles Hospital and subsequently mapping out a strategy for improving regional healthcare access and treatment for diseases like HIV and tuberculosis (which are always present in their communities).
During our most recent trip, a group of Chamberlain faculty -- myself included -- assessed the learning needs of local nursing students and discussed ways to better meet the community's health and wellness needs.
Since our goal was to empower our counterparts in the Seychelles to pursue advanced degrees, Chamberlain faculty first had to implement the most critical element of the strategy: providing nurse educators in the Seychelles with advanced education access.
Since Chamberlain's Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program provides instruction through online learning, local nurses gained access to the advanced education they needed in order to better care for their communities. Additionally, local nurse educators were also provided with tools for addressing language barriers (such as understanding third-party research in APA style formatting).
Seychelles Nurses Will 'Pay It Forward'
As a result of our efforts, several nurses from Seychelles Hospital have expressed an interest in Chamberlain's MSN degree program.
When they begin their classes, the new students will be exposed to a more hands-on, interactive learning approach. They will be exposed to evidence- and research-based practices, which will develop their critical thinking and clinical skills.
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Ultimately, Seychelles Hospital nurses will be equipped to seamlessly apply their education to their everyday nursing practice, using their knowledge of advanced healthcare protocols and their heightened awareness of various treatment modalities. Furthermore, they will go on to develop their own research, further educating future nurses in the areas they serve.
Tackling Other Targets
Our goal was to make long-term, positive changes in the Seychelles healthcare community by providing its nurses with the educational resources they so desperately needed. However, our work is truly just beginning. Chamberlain and the WHO are now striving to impart stability and structure within the regional nursing education system, which will allow healthcare leaders and nurses in the Seychelles area to foster the community's own paths toward advanced education.
Through these new avenues to education, we hope to help elevate the overall state of public health in the Seychelles. When Seychelles nurses have advanced degrees, they can help advocate for better healthcare policies, develop more health and wellness programs in their communities, enact preventative healthcare measures and increase access to healthcare services in their communities.
Furthermore, our team at Chamberlain will continue to meet with the WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, to discuss how to apply this strategy for improved nursing education in other underdeveloped countries.
Adele Webb is the president of Chamberlain College of Nursing's Cleveland Campus. With nearly three decades of experience ranging from education to healthcare leadership, Dr. Adele Webb has a wealth of industry knowledge and experience that she brings to her role as campus president, WHO partner liaison, as well as other leadership roles in various healthcare organizations and causes.