The University of San Francisco School of Nursing has established a
partnership with the prestigious Bach Mai Nursing School in Hanoi,
Known as the Vietnam Nurse Project, the partnership has
three primary goals, including promoting cultural sensitivity and
awareness of the health care needs of Vietnamese patients, both in
Vietnam and the Bay Area, which has a sizeable Vietnamese population.
The program also aims to revise the curriculum at Bach Mai to reflect
contemporary nursing care standards, particularly in the areas of
maternal and neonatal health care, and provide assistance in using
instructional methods that promote student engagement and interaction.
project is directed by Greg Crow, adjunct instructor and member of the
Dean’s Circle, and Greg DeBourgh, associate professor of nursing and
chair of the adult health department.
The idea for a partnership
began several years ago when Crow vacationed in Vietnam and decided to
visit a nursing school. He ended up at Bach Mai, where he made a
connection with Bach Mai’s director, who was interested in elevating
the school’s level of curriculum to international standards,
particularly those of the west.
Since that initial trip, Crow,
project director, has visited several times, with DeBourgh making his
first trip last November. These visits have included consultations with
Bach Mai administrators and faculty as well as presentations to faculty
and students on various topics such as care of surgical patients and
infection control. During each of the two most recent visits, a USF
graduate nursing student has accompanied the team, one of whom
participated in a community health immersion experience and received
DeBourgh, the project’s associate director
and an expert in curriculum design and instruction, will focus on the
curriculum portion of the project, which will work to incorporate a
different style of teaching than is currently the norm in Vietnam.
During their trips, both DeBourgh and Crow have observed that most
teachers at Bach Mai do not make lesson plans or prepare many visual
aids for their classes. Teachers often read directly from textbooks,
occasionally writing on the blackboard. Additionally, most Vietnamese
teaching methods involve lectures, readings, recitation, and repetitive
drills, rather than a student-centered teaching approach.
ongoing visits to Hanoi, DeBourgh will work with the Bach Mai faculty
to implement instructional methods and technologies that promote
student engagement, interaction, and a focus on developing critical
thinking and reasoning. “I see the potential of the students and the
faculty. The commitment is there,” he said.
Because of the way
the Vietnamese health care system was designed and organized, there are
distinct inequities in care, quality, and access. The hope is that by
transforming the way nurses are educated and practice in Vietnam,
nurses can then help transform the Vietnamese health care system so it
is more socially just and equitable, especially in the areas of
maternal, neonatal, and pediatric health.
Although some of the
program’s plans, such as the long-term student exchange, are still a
ways off, Crow and DeBourgh already have plans for the coming year.
example, the Bach Mai Nursing School director will visit USF in
September to observe instruction and organization of the School of
Nursing, speak with students, faculty, and staff about the Vietnamese
health care system and nursing education, and to meet with USF faculty
about curriculum redesign ideas.
Crow and DeBourgh will travel
to Bach Mai next January to support the ongoing partnership, working
with the school’s faculty to redesign their curriculum and further
plans for the integration of USF and Bach Mai student and faculty
exchanges. Additionally, Helen Nguyen, a USF faculty member and
doctoral student in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, will travel
to Bach Mai in January 2010 to collect information for her DNP project
on maternal and neonatal health care in Vietnam.
Vietnam, as in the U.S., when educationally prepared to provide care to
the whole person, applying knowledge of theory, evidence-based best
practices, competent clinical skills, and sensitivity to the health
care needs of its underserved and vulnerable populations, can become
effective advocates to promote access to patient-centered health care
services,” Crow and DeBourgh wrote in an application for a USF Jesuit