In September, 2007, the School of Nursing embarked on a new partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI) in St. Augustine, Trinidad, which will continue for three years. The project is funded by the Ministry of Health, Trinidad and Tobago. During this period, McMaster is working closely with UWI’s School of Advanced Nursing Education (SANE) to deliver McMaster’s post-diploma, BScN-linked Oncology Nursing Program in Trinidad. The Oncology Nursing Program courses will form the core of an oncology-focused stream within the BScN program at SANE, and will be delivered through a blend of face-to-face and distance modalities. The aim of the program is to foster the development of local capacity and expertise that will enable that University to offer the Program independently by the Fall of 2010. Project Coordinators are: Dr. C. Ingram (McMaster site) and Ms. P. Siewdass (UWI site).
This initiative builds on a successful partnership (below) that was developed in 2001-2002:
Ontario Ministry of Health & Ministry of Health, Trinidad & Tobago
Since 1996 the Ministry of Health of Trinidad and Tobago has been engaged in extensive Health Sector Reform aimed at strengthening health sector policy making, planning and management capacity. As a component of that program, cancer was identified as a significant issue. Having recognized gaps in existing screening, prevention, diagnostic and treatment modalities, the Ministry focused on enhancing the profession of nursing and viable options to prepare Trinbagonian nurses for efficacious roles in hospital and community oncology nursing care.
The Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health negotiated with McMaster University to enroll 12 Trinbagonian nurses in a consolidated version of its pre-existing year-long post- diploma Oncology Nursing Program. Specifically selected for their scholarship, the twelve nurses, with varied oncology expertise, arrived in Canada in September of 2001, for an eight month stay. After an entry workshop, the students engaged in seven oncology-focused problem-based, small group courses: Theories and Concepts in Oncology Nursing I and II, Advanced Therapeutic Communication, Health Assessment in Oncology Nursing, Critical Appraisal and Research Methods, Health Science and Society and Guided Nursing Practice. With expert oncology tutors and preceptors, the nurses explored theoretical and practice issues and visited cancer care sites across Southern Ontario. Although homesick and unsure of their roles-to be, these nurses were committed, enthusiastic, forthright and tenacious. They presented rounds at the Hamilton Regional Cancer Centre, submitted articles for publication, and attended local workshops and national conferences. They were engaging ambassadors for their country, and since returning to the Caribbean, have been formidable advocates for nursing and for cancer care.