Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
From May 27th to June 17th, 2010, two Nursing professors, Melanie Stansfield and Karyn Taplay along with Nadia Fazio, a clinical instructor, accompanied twelve select nursing students, to Manzini, Swaziland to learn community nursing from an international perspective.
The landlocked kingdom of Swaziland is surrounded by South Africa on its northern, western and southern borders and by Mozambique on its eastern border and is roughly the size of the Niagara Region. With a population of only 1,185,000 people, it has been identified as having the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world.
This Community Health Nursing International (NUSC 4F93) course was an intense three weeks for the students. Student nurses in their final year were challenged to learn about nursing in a country with minimal resources and prolific need. Opportunistic diseases, rarely seen in Canada, are common in this setting . Minimal resources, such as lack of supplies, scarcity of water and even shelter, made assessment and planning of care a challenge.
Students conducted community assessments, worked in rural nursing clinics, and participated in 72 home visits throughout the impoverished rural community of Bethany Mountain. They also offered group educational sessions that focused on the care of infants, first aid and support for the caregiver. These were each attended by more than fifty people, some of whom travelled by bus for several hours from distant sites to learn.
|Read More: Nursing students learn and share in Swaziland (The BrockNews)|
The additional focus of the course was the establishment of an international educational nursing link and there were unique opportunities for shared learning.
The faculty of the Nazarene College of Nursing offered lectures and facilitated clinical experiences. Brock Nursing students learned about the community health in Swaziland and the national programs that have been developed to deal with the AIDS crisis.
The Brock professors also lectured at the Nazarene College of Nursing on topics relevant to community health care in Canada. Both faculties formed research links in areas of mutual interest.
The students embraced the culture in Swaziland. They were given opportunities to attend community events, sample local cuisine, explore at the game reserve and shop in the local markets. They attended classes on cultural norms and were given lessons on rudimentary siSwati language skills.
Those students who had the opportunity to take this course highly recommended the experience to future students as “a learning opportunity of a lifetime”, one that changed their perspective of nursing. From the professors ‘perspective the course was highly successful and offered learning experiences beyond expectations.
The course is to be offered annually.