Special to UM News
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 2, 2015)—Faculty and students from the School of Nursing and Health Studies have created the first nursing leadership course on the PAHO Virtual Campus of Public Health, which provides distance learning tools to strengthen health care policy and practice in Latin America and the Caribbean. Offered in Spanish and English, the free course, “Empowering Nurse Leaders,” attracted 263 applicants from 34 countries, which exceeded its capacity and underscored how critical the course is to a region facing severe shortages of faculty and educational tools, particularly in the area of leadership development.
Aspiring nurse leaders, including Ministry of Health directors from a diverse array of Latin American and Caribbean nations, will pursue leadership learning activities from their own computer stations, in their home countries, and at their own pace. The course’s eight modules cover topics such as ethics, the nurse as advocate, and evidence-based research.
“Not every school or health care institution has the resources to send its students and personnel outside their own country for leadership training,” says Mary Hooshmand, assistant professor of clinical, who helped lead the SONHS team that created the course. “But almost every organization today has Internet connectivity. This course provides an overview of leadership and management principles in a no-cost e-format to the future nurse leaders of the Americas.”
The state-of-the-art course is the most recent global project of the school’s World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Nursing Human Resources Development and Patient Safety—one of only 10 such centers in the United States and 43 in the world. The center’s team worked with international partners at the University of the West Indies and the Colombian Association of Schools and Colleges of Nursing to ensure course content is tailored to the needs of the geographical regions it is intended to serve.
“Collaborating for the betterment of international health care education and knowledge dissemination is a two-way street,” explains UM’s Johis Ortega, deputy director of the Collaborating Centre and co-leader of the course design team. “You can’t just drop in on developing world nations and tell them how you are going to help them, and you can’t generate a global collaboration plan in isolation. If you really want your efforts to have an impact you must first take the pulse of the regions you are trying to serve and hear their needs and concerns.”
In an effort to disseminate health care knowledge and leadership tools to difficult-to-reach segments of the health care workforce, the SONHS’ WHO Collaborating Centre facilitates an ever-expanding list of web-based courses in English, Spanish, and Portuguese at no charge to nurses, students, and faculty across the globe, with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior courses include Preventing Medical Errors, Domestic Violence, HIV Prevention and Care, and Nursing and Patient Safety—the latter with more than 3,000 enrolled participants since its inception.