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Global Collaboration Provides USD Nursing Students Unique Opportunity to Address Rural Community Health Issues

Nov 01, 2021 01:16PM ● By Med Magazine

The University of South Dakota Department of Nursing was awarded a grant as part of an effort to create partnerships between international nursing students and educators and address issues related to rural community health.

The nursing department received the grant from the Matson Halverson Christiansen Hamilton Foundation as part of the Global Rural Nursing Exchange Network initiative. Anne Pithan, Ph.D., chair of nursing, and Lisa Feller, Ed.D., academic program site director, are the project co-investigators for the project.

“We are confident this project will provide an opportunity for us to share nursing practices from around the world and connect nurses through technology to enhance the nursing profession,” Pithan said.

The project, Promotion of Global Health Competencies: The Moshi Tanzania – South Dakota Rural Community Nursing Program, promotes collaboration between the Kibosho School of Nursing in Moshi, Tanzania, and the USD Department of Nursing. Within their respective countries, both schools serve a critical role in nursing workforce development in rural areas.

“We are so excited to be a part of this collaboration between USD and Kibosho School of Nursing in Moshi, Tanzania,” Pithan said. “This will provide an opportunity for students to learn from each other, about each other and share how nursing care is similar and different in South Dakota and Tanzania."

The program addresses two critical priorities: the promotion of healthy aging throughout the world and the development of competencies in global health care.

“The exchange project provides a unique opportunity for students in rural South Dakota to establish relationships and engage in mutual learning with colleagues from a different part of the world while addressing a priority international health need,” Feller said.

The students will use the Global Rural Nursing Exchange Network (GRNEN) online platform to collaborate. Prior to the community immersion when students will work with the rural elderly, two meetings will be held via Zoom to establish relationships, provide information about each program and location, and discuss the project.

Following the community immersion, students will participate in three Zoom meetings to present the field work, discuss common and divergent issues that impact the rural elderly and debrief what students learned from each other regarding culture, global awareness and the importance of developing global health competencies.

Feller said that international collaboration is important because as the health care practice becomes more complex, there is a need for advanced collaboration, clinical judgement and cultural awareness.

“Our communities always benefit when students are provided opportunities to understand different cultures, view nursing practices through a different lens and learn from others,” Feller said. “This creates professional nurses who demonstrate cultural awareness, compassion and increased knowledge about rural communities.”

The project will take place in April and May of 2022.