Teaching in Limited Resourced Setting
I have now had the opportunity to teach a few times in Mongu. What an eye-opener! I will try to refrain when I get back to Canada from complaining about classroom sizes, the weather, and AV equipment (but I cannot promise that will happen J). I taught in the following settings: a community health clinic, the ZEN school of nursing and at Lewanika General Hospital.
My second teaching experience was at the ZEN School of Nursing. This school trains ‘Enrolled Nurses’ (ENs). The students will graduate as ENs, which is similar back home to a practical nurse. If an EN would like to become a ‘Registered Nurse’ that nurse will need to take 3 more additional years of schooling, and further, if that same nurse pursues a bachelors degree it is an additional 4 more years of school- think about that timeline!
I taught on the topic of the very sick young infant, using the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) material designed and created by the World Health Organization. I covered the assessment, diagnosis and treatment components of caring for the very sick young infant. IMCI material is extremely helpful in countries such as Zambia because the material is designed to help healthcare providers learn to assess children, classify a child’s illnesses, and treat children that are living with complex health challenges (i.e. a young child who presents with pneumonia, malnutrition, and is also HIV positive). The IMCI material is a valuable tool and the documents are all available on the WHO website
So how did the day go? …Well there were 78 students in one VERY hot room- we started the day as the school always does with singing and a prayer- the signing is fantastic! And then I presented the material to the students. All – in- all the teaching was fine (not good… no one here uses the term ‘good’ you are either fine or not fine); however the AV broke down countless times (and was fixed by a student) and the sound to the video was also an issue. Internally each time I felt that instructor PANIC! As we have said here many times over the last 6 weeks “the program was crashing!” But as the morning went on I stopped and looked around and I noticed that these are just everyday classroom challenges that the students here are all too used to! In fact securing a laptop that could connect to AV was a two-day fiasco in itself! But the students and the nurse tutors work hard to maintain the school as a positive learning environment.
The resource issues are everywhere; the school needs more space, more tutors and more functional equipment. The tutors and the students are all committed to learning and you can see the hard work that many people put into educating these future nurses. The goal for the ZEN school is to make it a school that graduates RNs, but there are still barriers that have held up the proces
s of this transition. In the future I hope to get more chances to teach in Mongu, as the healthcare providers, nurse tutors, and students have certainly taught me more than I have been able to give back!