Posted Apr 18, 2016
The nursing profession is an integral part of the larger health care system. To help nursing students learn how nursing interacts with other segments of the larger system the Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing offers first hand learning opportunities. During spring semester LAU’s senior nursing students made field trips to three representative health care institutions within Lebanon’s health care system. The field trips were part of the course, Professional Nursing Concepts III. In the course students study the influence of policy, regulation, and economics on health care and examine structure, functions and cost-effectiveness of macro health system resources. Prior to each field trip students prepare questions so they are ready to engage in discussion about these and other matters of interest.
On February 2, students, accompanied by Dr. Myrna Doumit, Associate Professor and course faculty, visited the offices of the Lebanese Red Cross in Spears Hamra to discuss the national emergency plan and the role of nurses and the nursing profession in the emergency response system. Ahmad Al Haj, senior student, commented about the value of this visit, “I learned the Red Cross is very important at the national level during disasters and also how important it is to volunteer to help our population in emergencies.” Another student, Sarah Swaid, added, “I used to think they were just a transport system like 911 [in the US] but it was surprising to see how much they put into making Lebanon a safer place.”
The next field trip was to the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health in Mathaf, on February 9, where they met with Dr. Randa Hamadeh, head, and other personnel from the Primary Health Care Department. During the visit students learned about the health care services covered under this department and discussed with Ministry representatives, the significant role that nurses can and should play at the community level. Ms. Swaid commented, “The Ministry of Public Health made it very clear that public awareness is key to getting where we need to be health wise. The more we spread the word about non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like hypertension or diabetes, the more we can decrease their incidence and help keep people healthy.”
The final field trip was to the headquarters of the Order of Nurses in Lebanon (ONL), Sin El Fil, meeting with Dr. Nuhad Dumit, ONL President; Mrs. Nathalie Richa, ONL Director; and Mr. Roger Abi Rached, ONL Legal Counsel, on February 23. The ONL president and staff described to the students the work of the Order for the nursing profession and also learned about the many ways nurses can be involved in the Order to address issues important to the profession and to develop their own leadership skills. Sarah Tabet, senior student, summarized, “Our field trip to the Order was much more enriching then we expected. We learnt how much the nursing profession has grown in Lebanon! We were really amazed how far we have come thanks to perseverance and determination.”
Learning about the health care system complements the many hours of classroom instruction and days of clinical experience that nursing students complete. Through the field trips students learned how nurses make a difference in health care far above and beyond the bedside.