Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Promoting global understanding of community nursing through online live interaction at StFX

November 14th, 2016
Students in the community nursing course in StFX's Elizabeth and Thomas Rankin School of Nursing connect live via online technology with community nursing students at the University of Calgary in Qatar

Students in the fourth year community nursing course in StFX’s Elizabeth and Thomas Rankin School of Nursing had a chance to share best practices and learn global perspectives when they connected via technology Nov. 10 with university nursing students enrolled in a community nursing course in the Middle East.

The StFX class, taught by Dr. Debbie Sheppard-LeMoine, connected with a class at the University of Calgary in Qatar, taught by StFX graduate Lucille Wittstock. The students in that class represented seven countries, Qatar, Indonesia, Algeria, Somalia, Tunisia, Sudan and Bangladesh.

Dr. Sheppard-LeMoine, who previously taught at the university in Qatar, said the live online interaction was an opportunity for nursing students to share their experiences and to experience concepts that are common but sometimes understood differently in a global context.

“The class was a great success,” she said. “The students from StFX and the University of Calgary in Qatar shared their community class and practice experiences with each other. StFX students heard global health stories that they had never heard before and the same was true for the University of Calgary in Qatar students.

“We talk about global perspectives, but we don’t always get exposed to what it looks like in a different part of the world.”

She says the experience helps build understanding among nursing students globally about common nursing practices.

“It’s another opportunity to go to another level of understanding.”

Dr. Sheppard-LeMoine says the students came prepared to share what they’re doing in their respective courses and to ask questions of each other.

EYE OPENING EXPERIENCE

“Today was an eye opening experience for my classmates and me,” says Emily Peter-Paul, a fourth year nursing student from Fredericton, NB. “There are so many similarities throughout the world regarding health care. It was great to be a part of this experience.”

Nursing student Heather Gillis of Antigonish, NS says the biggest and most important aspect of the conversation between the two classes was the ability to gain firsthand knowledge of the issues impacting another culture.

“The opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation in real time allowed both groups to share openly and learn from one another,” she says. “We were able to share stories about our roles as student nurses as well as what issues were of greatest importance at this time.”

She says the biggest take home message was that no matter the country there is one common theme underlying health care. “That is the understanding and knowing that community and population health impacts and underlies every health care system no matter how far apart the systems may be. Nurses have the natural insight to see the correlation between the impact of the population’s health on all individuals within the immediate and global community. We are all looking to accomplish the same goal, the best possible health outcomes for all people.”

Dr. Sheppard-LeMoine thanked Matt Cameron of IT Services for providing the technology connection as well as nursing faculty member Dr. Cathy MacDonald, who came to the class to add her experiences from working with students in the Middle East.

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