by Stephanie Obara
In recent years, I have followed my passion for teaching and transitioned from a pediatric acute care Registered Nurse into Nursing Education. In my pursuit of this goal, I am currently working as a Nursing Educator on short-term contracts and an auxiliary basis while completing my thesis for an online Master of Nursing (MN) degree at Athabasca University. This year, I was fortunate to be recognized at the annual ISSOTL conference as an Emerging Scholar. This support provided me with the opportunity to attend the conference along with one of my mentors.
My thesis topic is studying the Education of Undergraduate Nursing Students in International Service-Learning Programs. This topic emerged after a personal experience working as a clinical instructor with Canadian Nursing Students in Kenya. One of my favorite experiences at the conference was attending the panel discussion, Global Service Learning: Structuring Curriculum to Enhance Humility by Victoria Calvert, David Peacock, Margot Underwood, Judy Gleeson, Andrea Kennedy, and Scharie Tavcer. The discussion was led by professors from Mount Royal University and University of Alberta health sciences departments. Attending this panel expanded my definition of global service-learning (GSL) to include not only international countries but also remote areas of Canada. I learned about the potential for student transformation and ethics related to international placements. I came to realize that there is potential for partnership in scholarship and research across disciplines and institutions.
Another presentation that stood out was Inter-professional Education in Pediatric Nursing: Tagging the Summit Together by Jill Bally and Erick McNair. The University of Saskatchewan has inter-professional pediatric simulation, taught by faculty from nursing, medicine, and dentistry. Their study has hypothesized that third year nursing students will increase their knowledge, attitudes and values towards collaborative pediatric practice. I was able to bring some welcome inter-professional ideas back to the simulation coordinator for health disciplines at my workplace.
At first I was unsure that this conference would be related to my areas of interest. However, I found many topics that appealed to my professional interests and was really impressed with the amount and diversity of topics. I felt welcome in my student role people were friendly and interested and encouraging in learning about my educational and professional pursuits. Upon successful completion of my MN degree, I hope to return to the ISSOTL conference as a Nurse Researcher and presenter to disseminate my work.
I would highly recommend this conference. It was well organized. The volunteers were incredibly friendly. The food was great! Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity!