Cross-cultural collaboration creates international nursing community

January 30, 2017

Nursing faculty members repurpose old supplies to forge new relationships


Supplies used by nursing students get updated frequently, meaning anything outdated is rendered useless. Normally, the old stuff gets tossed.

A small team of faculty members from MacEwan University’s Faculty of Nursing is making sure that doesn’t happen. Instead of throwing outdated needles, syringes and dressing trays in the trash, they’re donating them to Ternopil State Medical University in Ukraine, where the tools are still usable.

"Whenever it's possible, we really do try to give our stuff away to somebody who could use it," says Colette Foisy-Doll, director of the Clinical Simulation Centre. "If we can repurpose it somehow, we will.”

In the past, paper-based wash basins have been donated to the Child Care Centre for crafts, but the majority of supplies are donated to Ternopil, where staff can use them to improve the education their nursing students receive.

image-SUSTFEB-NURSING2Assistant Professor Dr. Liz Burgess-Pinto says the efforts are about more than sharing supplies and reducing waste. “We're hoping to develop an international community of practice focused on nursing student education,” she says.

That starts with Ternopil.

MacEwan first forged its relationship with Ternopil in2014 when faculty members from Ukraine visited City Centre Campus to learn about the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Last summer, four MacEwan students travelled to Ternopil to take part in an interdisciplinary health-care camp.

“The people at Ternopil can learn a lot from us, but we can also learn quite a bit from them because we have very different systems," says Liz. "There are connections between faculty and students that can be made that look at different ways of doing things. I think it’s important for us to be aware of looking at different contexts and systems.”

Liz and Colette hope eventually to expand cross-cultural collaborations to other universities around the globe.

"It's just this wonderful opportunity for cross-pollinating," says Colette. "It doesn't matter where you're from—we have so much to learn from each other."

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