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International Collaboration on Best Practices in Nursing

The nursing program in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions signed an agreement with the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) in October, 2010, beginning a formal association in which the faculty agreed to incorporate the RNAO's best practice guidelines into the nursing curriculum. The goal is to become an Academic Best Practice Spotlight Organization (ABPSO®) of the RNAO, the first in the United States.

Katharine Lewis, former faculty member and current deputy director of the Department of Public Health for the State of Connecticut, began visiting the RNAO with nursing students in 2006 as an international experience for students to learn about, and then compare and contrast public health and health care systems in Canada and the United States. During the 2010 visit, the Executive Director of the RNAO invited the University of Hartford to sign on as an ABPSO® candidate.

As part of the candidacy, the ENHP nursing faculty invited Heather McConnell, associate director of the international affairs and best practice guidelines programs for the RNAO, to conduct workshops for nursing faculty members and students.  These took place on March 29 and March 30, 2011. The focus for faculty members was incorporating best practice guidelines into the nursing curriculum and evaluating outcomes. Faculty members are developing an assessment tool to evaluate students' understanding and knowledge of the guidelines.  Nurses in the undergraduate program are already implementing two of the guidelines concerning smoking cessation and the prevention of childhood obesity as part of their Project Horizon service-learning experience. 

The workshop for current students and alumni was aimed at creating best practice “Champions” among these nurses, providing concrete tools for implementing guidelines in their respective work sites. The guidelines are developed using the best available research evidence (best practice) and have been utilized in health care facilities across Canada. 

Responses were extremely positive from both faculty and students. “This is an exciting time for the nursing program and a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with the RNAO, as we incorporate best practices into our curriculum” noted one faculty member.

Nursing faculty Katharine Lewis (center) Confers with Heather McConnell

Best Practice Guidelines

Attentive Workshop Participants

Nurse Participants

Nursing Faculty with Heather McConnell (back row, center)