UMSN Faculty Collaborate with Mexican Peers to Prepare for New Era in Nursing

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Nurses in Mexico face rising challenges of chronic illness care, as changes in the country’s health care system bring more responsibilities.

Health care in Mexico is experiencing radical changes as the country settles in to its universal policy, Seguro Popular. While many of the new policies are undefined for nurses, they do have a broadened scope of duties including the ability to prescribe medicine, plus expanded leadership roles in educating patients on self-management of chronic diseases.

Faculty members at Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico have recognized the importance of updating the education of future nurses to include the expanded responsibilities. As such, and because the school's current curricula does not address many aspects of nurses' expanded scope, they recently invited two University of Michigan School of Nursing (UMSN) faculty members, Associate Professor Barbara L. Brush, PhD, ANP-BC, FAAN and clinical instructor Megan J. Eagle, MSN, FNP-BC to conduct a two-day workshop focused on diabetes and obesity as well as related illnesses.

“In terms of diabetes and obesity, Mexico and the United States have extremely similar Group shot rates, patterns and challenges,” said Eagle.  “Thinking together, about what health care systems and specifically nurses, need to be able to offer families over the next 20 years, was very helpful. It’s a conversation that only gets richer when you involve other perspectives.”

Dr. Brush supports the faculty at Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon for recognizing that important changes are needed at the university-level. “We found the problem for Mexican nursing is this chasm between undergraduate and doctoral education,” said Dr. Brush. “The undergrads are trained in hospital-based practice. Once they get to the master’s level, the focus shifts away from practice to theory and research. The faculty at the Universidad and Megan and I agree that in light of the country's changing health care needs, especially with respect to chronic illness, there needs to be greater emphasis on attaining clinical competency at the master’s level.”

The first day of the workshop involved sharing information about the magnitude of the problem of chronic illness in Mexico and its broader health consequences (by Universidad faculty) and how models of chronic illness care and medical management of diabetes might be achieved by nurses (Brush and Eagle).

The second day, which as planned was initially focused on how nurses might advance their knowledge and care of cardiovascular complications connected to diabetes, shifted to incorporate case studies and processes for counseling and motivational interviewing  when the Mexican faculty members expressed interested in learning more about how to promote behavior changes and self-care, such as checking blood sugar, with their patients.

Dr. Brush and Eagle agree the workshop was a learning experience for them as well. “It was collaboration between colleagues,” said Eagle. “It was a dialogue about different directions academic nursing has gone in the two countries. We asked, ‘What can you as nursing faculty offer to this society as you confront this impending wave of diabetes?’ That’s a question we can ask ourselves here.”

Dr. Brush and Eagle are optimistic this experience will turn into a series of workshops and next time, they hope to bring several UMSN students.