From SickKids Emergency Room to a classroom in Ghana – A global nursing perspective
Koon Wah Luk and Jane Stuart-Minaret are nurses in the Emergency Department at SickKids and members of the International Resource Team, supporting capacity building education programs at SickKids Centre for Global Child Health.
This past June, we were in Accra, Ghana, teaching a group of 21 Ghanaian nurses enrolled in a one-year specialized paediatric nursing program developed and delivered by the SickKids-Ghana Paediatric Nursing Education Partnership (PNEP). Working with Ghanaian faculty and SickKids nurse educators, we teach registered general nurses at the Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives to advance their paediatric knowledge and skills, and leadership abilities.
This experience was a real change of pace from our daily routine working in the Emergency Department at SickKids. We learned and came to appreciate how similar Canadian and Ghanaian values are in caring for patients. The faculty and students were so enthusiastic and keen to work with us and develop their skills. They want the very best care for their patients and value a family-centred approach just like we do in Canada. One highlight was leading an all-day teaching session on Fostering Change and Health Communication, which involved our Ghanaian colleagues jumping in and providing examples of their own experiences to reinforce the lesson and make it relevant to the local context.
While teaching we also benefited by learning from the students’ experiences and the realities of paediatric nursing in Ghana. Though we face very different challenges in our countries, we encouraged the nurses to think critically and solve problems with the resources available to them. Teaching alongside our Ghanaian colleagues and sharing in the students’ learning experiences has contributed to our professional and personal growth.
It is exciting to know that nurses across the globe share similar goals: improving health outcomes for children and providing family-centred care as a focus of their practice. We look forward to returning to Ghana in the coming months to continue teaching and to supervise clinical placements at local health- care facilities.