In December 2014, I had the privilege to travel to Ghana to work on my Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship project of developing a graduate nursing program in Central University College (CUC). Upon arrival at the university, I received a resounding welcome from the nursing faculty, staff and students. I went to work almost immediately, visiting with the university leadership, and going on a tour of the facilities, including the clinical sites. I was surprised to see the amenities and instructional resources available to students and faculty. The classrooms were spacious and wired with full internet service, and smart board. The library has ample reading spaces, many multi-disciplinary books, though some were older editions, electronic catalogue and reference section. The Librarian explained that they are working to increase the number of newer edition books and electronic collections.
Central University College is a not for profit educational institution that started in 1988 as a training school for Christian Religion leaders. Today the university has several programs in business, liberal arts and professional studies among which is nursing at the baccalaureate level. As a dynamic progressive university, CUC sought to expand its course offerings, and address the issue of nursing faculty shortage. When the opportunity came from Carnegie for institutions of higher learning in Africa to collaborate with African-born Scholars in United States and Canadian universities in the areas of curriculum development, research and student mentoring, the head of the nursing program in CUC Dr. Mary Opare articulated a proposal to develop a master's degree in nursing curriculum to train nurse faculty.
During the visit, I facilitated a needs assessment and stakeholders meeting for input from the relevant bodies in health care delivery system. Participating in this meeting were representatives from the Ghana Ministry of Health, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana, National Accreditation Council, current students, alumni and community members. A consensus of the faculty and clinicians' information session was to develop the nursing education track first in collaboration with Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Henry P. Becton School of Nursing and Allied Health. The CUC-FDU collaborative program will increase access to graduate nursing education for nurses aspiring to teach in the nursing schools, staff development or patient education areas. Graduates will acquire the knowledge and skills in teaching that will enable them to work effectively with students, patients, and consumers. I completed writing the first draft of the curriculum and presented it for revision to CUC faculty, and FDU program Director, Dr. Guttman. Right now, I am waiting for input from some of the stakeholders in Ghana in order to proceed to the final revision. Overall, the goal is to begin the program in fall 2015.
Besides work, I had the opportunity to attend the CUC President's end of year awards ceremony, church services, and weddings. In addition, I visited the art and craft center and the Accra shopping mall. The food is different and I learned to eat some, but at a point, I had to find a Nigerian restaurant. It was very interesting to see things from different perceptive. I learned so much from interacting with my colleagues and they in turn appreciated the current edition books I brought to them and my service to their university. I am looking forward to the full-developed FDU-CUC partnership.
Patricia Ukaigwe, DNP, CNE, RN-BC
Wednesday, February 11, 2015