SickKids International in Ethiopia

Bloomberg & SickKids develop program to reduce child mortality in Ethiopia

29 June 2012

For the past year, Bloomberg Nursing alumni have been working diligently with partners in Ethiopia to launch the paediatric nurse practitioner specialty track of the MN program at the School of Nursing, Addis Ababa University (AAU). Through the SickKids Global Child Health Program, these nurses are leading the development and delivery of three clinically focused paediatric courses.

The team was in Ethiopia during Nursing Week this year, teaching the first course in the Ethiopia-SickKids Paediatric Nursing Training Programme. The program is the first of its kind in Ethiopia. The curriculum and course materials were developed collaboratively between SickKids and Ethiopian partners, with the courses focusing on advanced clinical knowledge, and integrating leadership concepts and role development for advanced practice paediatric nurses in the country.

The SickKids teaching and project team included the following U of T Nursing alumni:

  • Stephanie de Young, BScN 0T6; nursing project manager, SickKids International
  • Bonnie Fleming-Carroll, MN 0T1, associate chief, nursing and interprofessional education, SickKids
  • Judy Hawes, MN 0T2; nurse practitioner, NICU, SickKids
  • Pam Hubley, MSc 9T3 and ACNP (dip) 9T5; chief, professional practice and nursing, SickKids
  • Karla Wentzel, MN 0T3; nurse practitioner, SickKids International

De Young first travelled to Ethiopia in 2006 for her global health placement in NUR480: Critical Perspectives in Global Health Nursing: An Elective Practicum while completing her studies at Bloomberg Nursing. “My experiences both as a student engaged in global health at U of T and as a registered nurse at SickKids caring for diverse patient populations, have been extremely beneficial and influential as I am starting my career at SickKids International,” said de Young.

As part of Ethiopia’s strategy to build the health workforce, the Ethiopian Ministry of Education recruited 12 students to the specialty track. They are current lecturers in schools of nursing at universities across the country, representing eight universities and six regions. Their clinical experience ranges from health assistants and midwives to nurses in rural health centres and urban hospitals.

“We have had lots of opportunity to engage in thoughtful discussion with the students where we learn from each other. It has been a joy to teach at Addis Ababa University,” said Wentzel.

The first speciality course was delivered May 2012 in the second semester of the 2011-2012 academic year. The subsequent speciality courses will be delivered in July and September of this year. A rotating team comprised of SickKids advanced practice nurses will be on assignment in Ethiopia to support the course delivery. They will be supported by Ethiopian faculty at AAU’s school of nursing, who will be facilitating the student’s clinical practicum and co-teaching the courses with SickKids in 2013.

The aim of the Ethiopia-SickKids Paediatric Nursing Training Programme is to develop nursing leaders in child health through specialized graduate education. The Program will also support AAU’s efforts to build leaders in paediatric nursing who will advance child health care and education across Ethiopia.

This program is part the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-SickKids Global Child Health Program strategy to advance the global agenda in reducing child morbidity and mortality through innovative, sustainable and collaborative educational programs for health workers in Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

“Working in the global context is very challenging and exciting for nurses,” said Hubley. “It is wonderful to be contributing to the growth of the nursing profession in Ethiopia and specifically to be building capacity among nurses to deliver paediatric care.  Working with our partners we aim to improve children’s health and that is very rewarding.”

The Ethiopia-SickKids Paediatric Nursing Training Programme is aligned and works in coordination with the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration (TAAAC), a broader higher education initiative that partners departments and divisions of six faculties at the University of Toronto and the AAU. Under the TAAAC umbrella, Dr. Amy Bender led the e-mentoring initiative “PENpals” (Peer support for Ethiopian Nurses), which paired Toronto-based nursing academics and advanced practice clinicians with master’s students in the AAU School of Nursing.