Nurse training in the Northern Pacific
In 2006 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) invited the Australian Respiratory Council (ARC) to participate in development of educational materials and to undertake training in tuberculosis case management for nurses from the USA Pacific Islands (USAPIs) at the 4th Annual US Pacific Islands Regional Tuberculosis Workshop held in Honolulu, Hawai'i from 28 November to 2 December 2006.
Prior to the training course, the program and teaching materials were developed by a technical working group consisting of representatives from the US National TB Controllers Association (NTCA), CDC, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and ARC.
The 5-day workshop, which has been an annual event since 2003, was attended by 100 participants and included three concurrent training courses: one for clinicians, one for laboratory technicians and the nurses training in tuberculosis case management.
The nurses training was carried out by the following: Ms Pam Banner from ARC;
Ms Amanda Christensen from ARC and Ms Carol Pozsik from the NTCA in Atlanta, Georgia.
Twenty-one participants from six countries participated in the nursing course. The countries that the nurses represented were; Pilau, Marshall Islands, Guam, The Federated States of Micronesia (Yap, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk), Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa.
Participants were either nurses or DOTS workers with differing levels of experience and knowledge. The group was enthusiastic and eager to learn, this being the first occasion when nurses had a dedicated training session as part of the PITCA forum. Participants interacted well with each other and with faculty members and did not hesitate to ask questions and challenge the trainers.
The overall objective for the training course was to provide information on the use of a case management framework for TB Control within USAPIs.
Methods of instruction included PowerPoint presentations, discussions, clinical demonstrations and practical exercises. The faculty involved and encouraged participants to share their experiences and to identify local solutions from their collective nursing experiences and expertise.
The participants enthusiastically shared their experiences, knowledge and skills. It was noted in the evaluations that the sharing of local information was an important aspect of the training.
When the participants completed an evaluation form, it was particularly satisfying to learn that 20/21 of the participants commented that they gained new skills/knowledge that will improve the way they work.
From the participants' assessment, evaluation of training program and the trainers' observation the participants seemed to both enjoy and find the training a valuable experience. Collectively, there is an enormous amount of skill and expertise within the nurses working in the USAPIs and an enthusiasm for learning about each other's work and role. The opportunity for these nurses to meet was very much valued by all participants.
Importantly, comments were made by a number of participants that part of the success of the training was that nurses were delivering the training for nurses. We each understood the others perspective and frame of reference which seemed to minimize any barriers for participation and involvement. It was a pleasure to work with such a group of committed and dedicated health professionals.
In addition to the relationships developed with the project partners, of additional benefit to the faculty was the opportunity to meet with nursing, medical and laboratory staff from the USAPI. This invaluable opportunity enabled us to better understand the clinical, cultural and program structures within this region and apply this knowledge to clients within our respective services given the movement and migration patterns seen in our world today.