The Future of Canadian Health Care is in Good Hands.
The CNSA Conference is dear to my heart. It was my first introduction to advocacy and leadership during my undergraduate program. I am sure this is true for many other nurses as well. Canadian students from coast to coast traveled across the country to collaborate and be inspired together. This idea aligned perfectly with this years theme Collaborative Health Teams: Promoting and Enhancing the Nursing Role.
A highlight for GASNN was that our President Paisly Symenuk was invited to host a session on Global Health. The talk was engaging, interactive, and enlightening. Paisly challenged the students to question their meaning of global health and the adequacy of their undergraduate education. It was found that global heath was hard to define, and I think that is true for many. The definition of nursing alone can be diverse for each and every person. Global health, is even harder to define when you aren't exposed to a comprehensive view of this field through your education.
On a personal note, my classmates and I were lucky to have a great global health instructor. Whom was passionate in having us understand the structures and goals (as best they could in a term time limit) of global health change. We participated in a mock World Bank scenario in which we had to present our proposals for approval. Looking back, I can see how integral and forward thinking this instructor was in forming my deeper understanding of what global health is. Three major points stood out to me from this activity during my undergraduate program:
1: Having us work in a large team, with many differing personalities.
2: Challenging us to explore the main health concerns within each selected country.
3: Attempting to propose solutions that are creative, sustainable, and realistic within the range of policy, economic resources, and even laws.
Hearing from other students during Paisly's session, their global health education just scratched the surface, with a focus mostly on international nursing as a concept being used synonymously with global health. It was clear that students in this workshop were not getting the depth and interdisciplinary that is required to tackle health concerns on a global scale.
For those that had the opportunity to attend this conference, tell us your thoughts! What was your favorite workshop? What is your meaning of ‘global health’? What is your current school curriculum like? What can we do to advocate for a better and earlier introduction to global health within the nursing curriculum?
Seeing the leadership, determination, and engagement by Canadian student nurses gives us hope in the future of nursing, and leadership. We see this through GASNN's work in many countries.
We are confident the future of nursing in Canada is in good hands. Furthermore, the future of nursing globally, with SNNs working together across borders, we would argue is in even better hands.
Written by Paige Bewley, GASNN Secretary