McMaster University

McMaster University

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Health Sciences

Haitian nurses learn from McMaster’s "well of knowledge"

By Amanda Boundris
Published: June 28, 2011
Haitian nurses: Mirielle Sylvain, educator, National School of Nursing in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Raymonde Aime, director of nursing, Hopital Universitaire de La Paix (HUP); Mirlande Julmice-Jackson, manager, women's health, HUP; Bertoline Beaulieu, senior nurse for Public Health, Ministry of Public and Population Health (MSPP); Florence Walme Nau, assistant director of nursing, HUP; and Lucile Charles, president, Haitian Nurses Association (ANILH)
The Haitian nurses who visited Hamilton June 20 – 27, from left to right: Mirielle Sylvain, educator, National School of Nursing in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Raymonde Aime, director of nursing, Hopital Universitaire de La Paix (HUP); Mirlande Julmice-Jackson, manager, women's health, HUP; Bertoline Beaulieu, senior nurse for Public Health, Ministry of Public and Population Health (MSPP); Florence Walme Nau, assistant director of nursing, HUP; and Lucile Charles, president, Haitian Nurses Association (ANILH).

A group of six senior nursing officials from Haiti travelled to Hamilton in June to spend a week tapping into McMaster’s "well of knowledge of health needs and quality health services," said Mirielle Sylvain, an educator with Haiti’s National School of Nursing.

A grant in October 2010 from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada allowed the McMaster School of Nursing (SON), in partnership with University Hospital School of Nursing in Haiti, the Haitian Nurses' Association and the Hôpital Universitaire de la Paix in Port-au-Prince, to support joint Canada-Haiti academic projects to build capacity of academic institutions, provide opportunities for Haitians to resume studying and enhance their skill sets.

To that end, McMaster hosted the nursing administrators to learn more about their challenges, how McMaster can help meet their needs, and to provide an overview of nursing in Canada.

There are two nurses for every 10,000 people in Haiti and the average life expectancy there is 56 years.

The many issues facing nurses in Haiti include: poor working conditions; motivated nurses lacking the equipment and resources to do their job; challenges related to the delivery of patient care and no protocol; other care providers not working collaboratively with nurses; lack of clinical supervisors for students; lack of coordination for training nurses; lack of respect for nursing as a profession; nurse managers having no power; the need for a college of nursing to promote continuing education, and nurse retention.

Anita Fisher, an associate professor with the SON, believes McMaster can assist with ongoing efforts to develop the curriculum for a four-year bachelor of science in nursing degree.

"I think McMaster can play a huge role in basic education and also a role in graduate education, preparing these nurses to be clinical teachers. Our leadership and management program could also play a role, as they have a need for their nurse managers to develop leadership," Fisher said.

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