Gem in the Himalayas: A Global Educational Endeavor Between Two Universities

Monday, 30 July 2012

Jill B. Derstine, EdD, RN, FAAN
Marylou K. McHugh, RN, EdD
College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Learning Objective 1: Examine cultural issues inherent in collaboration with a faith-based university in Himachal Pradesh, India

Learning Objective 2: Analyze strategies used in teaching students/faculty in a culturally diverse situation

This session will describe an educational study conducted at Akal University, in Baru Sahib, India. Since 2008, Drexel University’s CNHP School of Nursing, Philadelphia, PA,USA has worked collaboratively with Akal University, an accredited BSN program located in a rugged area of the mid Himalayas.  On initial assessment, we observed that the faculty and students of this small Sikh University had little contact with urban universities and health care settings.  Several Drexel faculty traveled to the University over the past three years to deliver didactic sessions and generally acquaint students and faculty with nursing education practices in the US. In order to determine the effects of this exchange, we interviewed the first and second year students of Akal University using questionnaires and focus groups.  Drexel faculty also completed questionnaires. Competency based education is being used in India (Ughade, 2010), however this was not entirely evident. In the first stage of this study, the data showed that competency based learning is used, however, students do not go beyond the competency to think about why they are performing the action.  Faculty from Drexel emphasized critical thinking and students reported using this to reflect upon their actions.  The literature also speaks to nurses being “doctor’s helpers” in India (Chodankaar, 2011).  Learning advanced nursing procedures delighted the students, but many reported being unable to use them. The purpose of this presentation is to share the successes and challenges of working with a culturally diverse population.  Examples of teaching techniques and adaptations will be discussed.  The effectiveness of the teaching (which is being evaluated) will be shared to this point.