School of Nursing faculty and students collaborate with nurses from Mexico
Teachers relish “aha! moments,” when students understand a complex concept for the first time. These moments are coming from both sides of the border with a new educational program between nursing schools at the UT Health Science Center and Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico.
The Salud: Nuevas Fronteras program is bringing eight faculty members from UANL to the Health Science Center to learn teaching methods based on U.S. standards. They are enrolled in graduate-level coursework in the School of Nursing three weeks each semester for four semesters. The program began in fall 2014.
The program allows them to better coordinate their clinical and educational programs, and integrate research into the process. But it’s not a one-sided relationship, said Eileen T. Breslin, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing.
“This partnership is enriching both of our educational programs,” she said. “These are some of the best clinical faculty members at UANL. All of them have a master’s degree and some have doctoral degrees or are pursuing a Ph.D. UANL is one of the best universities in Mexico,” known for promoting graduate education and research.
At the Health Science Center, the Mexican faculty members have focused on palliative care, health assessments, clinical education and educational theory. This spring, the UANL nurses saw how Health Science Center faculty teach nursing students to interview patients and take medical histories, use simulation for clinical training and learn to care for patients in clinics and hospitals.
“We don’t have the same level of simulation training [in Mexico],” said Dani Amaro Hinojosa, a Mexican faculty member. “It is much more intensive here. I definitely want to take this [knowledge] back to Mexico.”
In the Center for Simulation Innovation, students practice caring for patients using computerized manikins programmed to exhibit various health issues, such as cardiac arrest, the birthing process and emergency blood transfusion.
During one simulation, the Mexican faculty members observed undergraduate nursing students as they assessed a manikin simulating respiratory failure, which led to inserting a breathing tube in the manikin. The Mexican nurses then participated in the exercise themselves, as if they were students. Finally, they took the helm as instructors, guiding the students as they would teach their own students in Mexico.
“Our students learn from their mistakes here before working with real patients,” said Clinical Assistant Professor Lark Ford, M.A., M.S.N., RN. “And we link what our students are learning in theory to their clinical training. They teach these separately in Mexico, so this was a new concept for the Mexican faculty members.”
Salud: Nuevas Fronteras is supported by $600,000 from the Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together Foundation. The universities of Michigan and Pennsylvania are partners in the program.