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Posted By: Connie Lieu on July 24, 2012

Labels: China , Global Health Expertise, Health Care Education, Health Systems Strengthening, Volunteers

Advances in China's Nursing Program

Lily Hsu, Project HOPE's Program Director in China, returned from her Beijing trip feeling very positive and proud. She serves as an advisor on a committee that is involved with developing guidance for nursing educational materials; an effort being led by People’s Ministry of Education (MOE) and China’s MOH publishing house (People Health Publishing Company.)  Most expected the outcome from this initiative to be a new edition of the Nursing bachelor and graduate textbooks that would consist mainly of additional translation materials with some amendments.  Instead, the new edition is now turning out to be a notable set of coursework.

During the session, a draft version of the content was reviewed with the committee and all committee members were very pleased with the result.  It was a remarkable in-house developed set of much advanced 5th edition of nursing textbooks. The nursing textbooks consist of best practices from established international countries along with China’s own research and protocols developed from evidence based experiences.  As Lily stated, “it's creative, practical and it contains over 10 years of China’s nursing research, experiences and evidence based training. I am glad to see that China’s nursing faculties are able to put their theoretic thoughts into the books that they are producing. There are also excellent colorful illustrations and examples to support an effective nursing undergraduate and graduate curriculum.” Having moved through the ranks in the nursing field, nursing education has a special place in Lily’s heart and this was surely an important milestone in both undergraduate and graduate Nursing education.

Project HOPE helped sponsored the first nursing graduate faculty certification program in 1993 based out of the Beijing Medical School. There were no graduate nursing programs at the time and Project HOPE helped paved the way to formalize programs with key partnerships by sponsoring the first "Faculty Nursing Training Certificate” program.  Today, there are over 200 baccalaureate nursing programs,yet standards on these nursing educational programs can vary significantly across China.  China is taking steps to standardize these programs across its nation with basic MOE guidelines and evaluations that are applicable to both urban and rural settings.  In addition, steps are being taken to define and fill gaps in order to align China with international standards.

I believe there is a united appreciation and goal to advance nursing and nursing education beyond the boundaries of hospitals in China where nursing has practiced exclusively for many years, and into communities to better serve the health of the total population.  As there is a shortage of doctors in China, there is a larger shortage of nurses.  In fact, most, if not all nursing graduates have employment secured before they formally graduate.  From my brief exposure, I do believe there is consensus that a nursing program should be structured not only to provide comprehensive care for hospitalized patients, but also effectively address the needs of individuals, groups and communities with supportive care and holistic efforts in health promotion to raise quality of life. Effectively doing so requires skills beyond medical knowledge and patient care but skills such as communication skills, human relation skills, and skills in effective decision-making and problem-solving. I was very encouraged in recent visits with Lily to two different secondary hospitals in different cities where nursing feedback hotline signs were promptly placed on patient floors and hallways to provide patients a way to file complaints and provide feedback. That is passion to aim high!  For it is passion that defines our thoughts and drives our actions to reach the shining star!

Connie Lieu is a Pfizer Global Health Fellow volunteering with Project HOPE China to strengthen health on non-communicable disease prevention, intervention, and management for patients with risk factors, and health care providers.

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