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School of Nursing welcomes scholars from USA

May 5, 2017
Guylaine Spencer

Sixteen students and their professors from Drexel University were at McMaster last month for a week-long immersion in the Canadian health care system. The Graduate Nursing Program and the Leadership and Management Program co-hosted the course.

The visiting students are all enrolled in the Doctorate of Nursing Practice program at Drexel University in Philadelphia and they work in a variety of different roles from clinical nurse specialist to nurse practitioner to directors in American hospitals. Their two-year program runs exclusively online, and the students come from different parts of the USA, so this was the first time many of them had a chance to meet face-to-face – and to meet their professors. Over the week, they and their Canadian colleagues had frank discussions about the differences and similarities between the health care systems in the two countries, including things like wait times, accessibility, costs and advanced practice nursing roles and education.

Dr. Al Rundio is the Associate Dean, Nursing, Drexel University and one of the two professors who attended. Before choosing McMaster for this immersion session, Rundio said, Drexel had been “taking the students over to Europe and England. I always wanted to take the students to Canada because they’re our neighbour.  We learned about it through one of our physical therapy faculty, who was doing research at McMaster. He referred me to Dr. Baumann and Dr. Skelly and the rest is history. We created the first program four years ago and we’ve been coming ever since. We’ve had on average about 20 students. This year’s experience was wonderful. They learn the difference between nursing and advance practice nursing in Canada and the US health care system. We tweak the program every year. This year we went to the mental health hospital, St. Joseph’s Medical Centre, and had a wonderful lecture by Winnie Doyle. They got to tour the facility. Bill Lorman did a lecture in dealing with the difficult patients. We’d like to thank our colleagues at McMaster. The students love it. It’s something that Bill and I look forward to every year.” 

Dr. Bill Lorman, Clinical Assistant Professor at Drexel, noted that “for the majority of the students, this is the final part of the course, and most of them are getting ready to begin working on their projects. One of the things they’ll do is compare and contrast the systems as part of their course requirements. We came here specifically to let the students get an experiential feel for the country, the people, and see how advanced practice nursing works up here, and how the health care system works.”

Kathryn Roberts, Senior Director of Nursing at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, attended the week-long session as an observer. “Dr. Rundio and I have been talking about partnerships between the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Drexel,” she said. “We already have a number of good partnerships but are looking for other opportunities.  He had suggested that this trip he does with his DNP students might be a great opportunity for our nurses. I thought I’d come along  and one of our brand new nurse specialists, Stephanie Murphy, also came to evaluate how we might use this an opportunity for professional advancement within the  nursing department. It’s been fabulous. Not only did we get to connect with his students, we got to connect with folks in the university and in the McMaster Children’s Hospital. It’s interesting to see what’s the same from one children’s hospital to another – the opportunities and challenges. We’ve made connections that we’ll keep. I think there are lots of opportunities for sharing of information going forward.” 

 Nancy Carter, Assistant Dean, Nursing Graduate Program, said she was “overwhelmed at the variety of students who were attending this program. We spoke to the two faculty members who attended to talk about the program they offer. I think we can learn a lot about the type of courses and how they deliver courses at Drexel. We have made plans to visit Drexel so we can learn from them and offer the best programs and courses at McMaster that we can. I want to thank all the faculty and staff who worked really hard to make the program a success. The groundwork was this successful program was really done with the help of Dr. Andrea Baumann, Dr. Colleen McKey and Dr. Jennifer Skelly.” 

Carolyn Byrne, Associate Dean, School of Nursing, added that, “The School of Nursing highly values this program as there is a sharing of the issues of advanced practice nursing across our two countries."  

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