Registered Nurse - Haiti Observer Blog

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Hopkins School of Nursing brings Hope and Healing to Haiti

RN Beth Sloand of Hopkins School of Nursing (HSN) has been coming to Haiti since 2000. She spearheads a program 75 students and 40 faculty members participate in. They land in Haiti three times each year to treat and educate local communities on clean water and sanitation practices. Because the school has gotten to know the communities over a long period of time, and built trusting relationships, change has been able to take hold, making small improvements possible.

HSN's mission is to offer hope and sustainable resources to residents. According to Sloand, oftentimes students "develop a heart for Haiti", making their work ". . . heartbreaking and hard to swallow." She adds in 2010 the situation after the earthquake was dire: infrastructure was reduced to rubble in communities and peoples' health was endangered by homelessness and the cholera epidemic. She remembers her team treated hundreds of survivors, ". . . but there would still be children crying for shelter or medical care . . ." Despite the pain, it motivated everyone to persevere.

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Regis College Haiti International Nurse Partnership Initiative

The Regis College School of Nursing, Science, and Health Professionals have formed a partnership with Haiti's Ministry of Health, nursing schools, and Boston's Partners in Health. The purpose of the partnership is to develop a masters and leadership program for nursing faculty at the University of Haiti. Currently, the majority of faculty only holds an associates' degree.

Haiti's healthcare system has suffered a dire shortage of Healthcare professionals, an underdeveloped infrastructure, and random delivery of healthcare services for many years. Regis College, member of the international community, wants to change all that. The support and improvement of healthcare givers in Haiti's healthcare system is overdue, and the tri-lateral partnership means to offer outstanding community service opportunities for University of Haiti faculty and post-graduate nursing students. On February 18, 2014, 12 faculty nurses will be awarded the first ever Masters in Nursing from the University of Haiti.

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Nursing education in Haiti increased from 3 years to 4 years

Almost exactly three years ago, one year after their necessary role in Haitian society was made glaringly clear to those in need of and lacking aid after the 2010 earthquake, the focus on the country's small fleet of nurses grew and the newfound interest allowed for the creation of a brand new program for nursing in the country. The need arose after the quake took the lives of near to a hundred nurses in the country and also brought down the Port-au-Prince school for nursing.

In 2011, the new plan to revive the field came in the shape of a master's degree program, requiring three years of study, was made available to nursing school students from five of the public schools for nursing across the country. Included in the three years of study, students followed decades' held curriculum studying mainly for hospital service. This left a gap in the market for other fields such as patient education, pediatric care, public health program management, surgery and primary care.

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