Learning to Teach: International Nursing Educators visit Pitt School of Nursing

By: Alexandra Salerno

On her first visit to the United States, Camila Lucchini witnessed a young mom give birth in a grocery store. Well, sort of.
As part of a two-week program, nurse educators from around the world attended a seminar at the Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation Education and Research (WISER), during which they saw a demonstration in which an advanced full-body, interactive birthing simulator was used.
Lucchini, representing the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, was one of eight international visitors participating in the University of Pittsburgh  School of Nursing 2013 Summer Intensive for Nurse Educators.
“It has been a great experience to share with colleagues of other countries and also to learn what nursing is like in North America,” Lucchini said.
The program, in its first year, welcomed nursing educators from Cambodia, Chile and China as they learned clinical skills and techniques to improve nursing practices, patient care and outcomes to teach students in their home countries.
“We thought the simulation was a wonderful experience for our participants this year, especially something like simulated birth in a non-clinical area,” said Mary Rodgers Schubert, M.P.M., R.N., director of Continuing Education at Pitt’s School of Nursing. “[It] is so important to teach young nurses about [non-clinical births] because they could be anywhere and have some sort of spontaneous situation in which they may have to participate. Going grocery shopping and having a mom go into labor could be a very real thing.”
According to Lucchini, the skills she gained during the summer intensive can be adapted when she returns to Chile. “I have been thinking about the importance of locally applying knowledge,” Lucchini said. “I think that is the great value [of this program]. I ask, ‘How can we do nursing with different realities?’”
During the two-week intensive, Dr. Haiou Xia, one of four nurse educators from China, discussed how to bring models learned at Pitt back home to the School of Nursing Fudan University in Shanghai. The role of the clinical instructor is quite different in China, she said, adding that she believes students can learn more in the clinical setting and that experience helps them to reach or obtain the clinical practice objectives.
Schubert hopes it is only the beginning of the Nursing School’s Intensive program for international nursing educators. “We hope to continue it on an annual basis,” she said.