Visiting PhD Student has research success in Brazil

29 May 2014

Daiana Bonfim, a visiting PhD student from the School of Nursing at the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil, recently had her work selected for presentation at the World Health Summit Regional Meeting for Latin America, held in Sao Paolo in April. Bonfim, working under the supervision of Assistant Professor (Status) Lianne Jeffs presented on Planning the Nursing Workforce in Family Health Team in Brazil through an Observation Study. As a result of her presentation at the summit, Bonfim’s work has been selected to be published and released in a booklet compiled by The Lancet at the World Health Summit in Berlin.

Bonfim, working closely with Jeffs and Professor Raquel R Gaidzinski in Sao Paolo, developed the abstract to present her research. Bonfim and her colleagues conducted a large study on the activities of nurses and nursing assistants in supporting workforce planning at more than 25 family health units all across Brazil. Taking more than 32,000 observations during the study at health units across the country, the results of the study measured current and potential productivity in both roles, and will be used to inform the redesign and optimization of the nursing work force to meet primary health care needs and to influence public policies for planning human health resources in Brazil.

During her PhD studies, Bonfim determined that she needed to add an international component to her studies.  Supported by the Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) from the Ministry of Higher Education in Brazil, Bonfim came to U of T as a visiting PhD student, where she shared her research with Bloomberg Nursing doctoral students, refined her focus, improved her language skills, and ultimately developed the abstract she presented at the WHO Summit in Sao Paolo. Bloomberg Nursing PhD Coordinator Judy Watt-Watson worked with Daiana to ensure that she was meeting her learning objectives and had access to necessary resources during her stay. “U of T has such highly qualified professors with international impact in research on human health resources,” says Bonfim. “This was an amazing opportunity for me to share with other graduate students in different countries and cultures, and learn about their own research topics.”

While at U of T, Bonfim also attended classes, including NUR 1081, a PhD seminar conducted by Associate Professor Ann Tourangeau. In this class, students took part in the “three minute thesis” concept, developing presentations of their research that fit into the allotted time. It was this exercise that helped Bonfim make a successful presentation at the summit. “My experiences at U of T were an important opportunity to improve my knowledge. Combined with the success of my abstract at the WHO summit, I am on track to make major improvements to my career while contributing to the important research discussions in Brazil.