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NurseTim presents...

Tese Stephens teaches CPR in Haiti

Teresa M. Stephens, PhD, MSN, RN

haiti studentsI was blessed to be able to spend a few days at FSIL in early March 2014, along with 2 of my faculty colleagues and 5 of our graduate nursing students from King University (Bristol, TN). With the exception of one faculty member, this was the first trip to Haiti for all of us. When we arrived that first day, we were greeted by Dr. Tim Bristol and introduced to a couple of MSN students who were to be our translators. We immediately felt a connection to these young men and fell in love with their smiles, their enthusiasm for learning, and their desire to contribute to the advancement of nursing in Haiti. We had over 100 student contacts during our 3-day visit and enjoyed interacting with Dean Alcindor and other faculty and staff.

cpr classDuring our first session with our first group of students, we realized that CPR is not a well-known concept in Haiti. In fact, all but three of the students we saw over a three-day period had never heard of it or seen it demonstrated. As we progressed through the various classes, we all began to notice the deep desire for learning and the excellent critical thinking and reasoning skills of these students. I commented that the experience was an “educator’s dream” to be surrounded by students who were sincerely motivated to learn and willing to go the extra mile to realize their goals. The students were professional in their behavior and their appearance. We were humbled by their commitment to their education and to their fellow Haitians. It is an honor to call them our colleagues in the nursing profession.

cpr studentDespite our visit coinciding with exam week, the students were very engaged and excited to learn new skills and knowledge. Even though Haiti does not yet have a full-fledged emergency response system, the students fully understand the need for these skills to provide life-saving care and to share this new knowledge with their colleagues within the healthcare system. As Haiti’s nursing force continues to grow in number and knowledge, especially with the FSIL’s advanced practice program, the people of Haiti will surely benefit from these efforts. I am hopeful for their future and foresee many opportunities for continuing education in the care of critically ill and/or injured patients. I hope to be able to continue to work with the faculty and students at FSIL and be a part of this nursing revolution. It was an honor and a blessing to spend time at FSIL!


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