A recent article published in Nurse Educator explores a highly targeted effort to promote nursing leadership in Haiti through graduate nursing education. This effort was the result of collaboration between nursing faculty from the United States and nursing faculty members in Haiti.
Adapting curriculum to meet the needs of Haitian nurses
Three cohorts of nursing faculty from Haiti enrolled and completed a hybrid graduate degree program in nursing leadership and education. Instruction was based on the “train the trainer” model and included four distinct leadership courses as part of an accelerated nursing curriculum. US faculty members taught in Haiti for part of the semester, and students learned using online resources for the rest of the time. The courses were adapted from US-based curriculum and were approved by the State University of Haiti.
Data about the courses’ effectiveness was collected over three academic years. Qualitative data was collected using informational interviews with students, classroom and clinical observation, and post-observation debriefing interviews.
Effort results in more nurse leaders
As a result of the program, the State University of Haiti established an Office for Nursing Education in 2018, the first time in the institution’s history. Also, a total of 37 nursing faculty members received a master’s degree in nursing education and leadership.
Each participant shared that teaching strategies, course content, utilization of research, and leadership education helped them become higher performers in their workplace. Many participants also reported being more vocal, more initiative, more assertive, and having more self-efficacy. These patterns were observed over all three years of research.
The most common areas of practice where nurses demonstrated leadership were:
- Curriculum enhancements
- Initiating infrastructure improvements for their schools, clinics, and communities
- Long-term planning
- Open communication
- Regular staff meetings
The higher education system also experienced systemic change as a result of this effort. The State University of Haiti awarded its first ever Master of Science in nursing (MSN) degree to the graduates of the program. Also, a graduate of the first cohort of students was hired as the first director of the Office for Nursing Education.
These findings suggest certain trends that can lead to the creation and implementation of a better nurse leadership education process in nations with limited resources. The authors of the article believe that the findings reinforce that education is a key strategy for elevating professional standing and stature of nurses around the world.