By Tricia O’Donohue, RN
December 7, 2011

Saint Marc, Haiti – Nursing staff at the PIH-supported l’Hôpital Saint Nicholas (HSN) recently pioneered a program for nurses that has proven to improve patient care, while fostering employee education. After weeks of training and scenarios, the new initiative can officially be called a success, with nurse and auxiliaries’ test scores improving by 30 percent.

Nurses train in St. Marc

American and Haitian nurses and auxiliaries update CPR skills in Saint Marc, Haiti.

The new program is just one way PIH is bringing the facility closer to becoming a site of nursing excellence. Since the program’s inception, six classes have been taught across the Pediatric, Emergency and Internal Medicine wards. Licensed nurses as well as auxiliaries, staff who support nurses, learned the latest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques for neonate, pediatric and adult patients, and discussed skills for improving bedside manner. Volunteer health care professionals from the U.S. traveled to the costal town of Saint Marc to launch the program. Two Haitian clinical nurse educators will manage the initiative as it moves forward.

Beyond improved test scores, the overall response to the trainings was excellent, and nurses have already begun applying new lessons at the hospital. Hospital management reports that morale and motivation have also improved, a less tangible but necessary step in making HSN a site of nursing excellence.

The successful project was designed at the request of nurses and auxiliaries who identified continuing education as one of largest barriers to high-quality patient care. In a survey taken earlier this year, staff also identified other barriers to care: limited supplies, lack of accountability, extremely high nurse/patient ratios, and burnout. The goal of PIH is to improve the overall nursing system in Haiti by providing ongoing education AND tangible support, making way for improved patient care.

HSN’s program is part of PIH’s Family Practice Residency Program, and is funded by the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.