Since 2011, the Nursing Department at Vanier College has offered third-year Nursing students an opportunity to complete their stage course in Malawi, Africa. Students in the exchange complete 160 hours of clinical nursing during six weeks of their final semester in Malawi to fulfill their Nursing DEC requirements and consolidate their nursing skills. Our students are guests of the Kamuzu College of Nursing at the University of Malawi where they will also attend classes.
They gain hands-on experience teaching and screening for illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS at St. Andrews Mission Hospital, a small rural hospital, and at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, a more urban medical institution. As the Malaria season will be at its peak, they will be able to apply their nursing skills just when extra health personnel will be most useful.
Aside from earning their diploma, the goals of this exchange are for our students to learn how to adapt nursing care to the values and beliefs of the Malawian people, thus becoming more culturally competent.
Cultural competence is increasingly being seen as an imperative skill that Canadian nurses must possess in order to provide competent nursing care to our diverse Canadian population. The experience in Malawi also serves to provide students with global perspective of the nursing profession and to recognize that their Vanier nursing education has global application.
In January 2014, Vanier College welcomed for the first time 2 students from Kamuzu College to spend seven weeks at Vanier taking courses, visiting hospitals and learning about nursing and medical practices in Quebec, bringing the nursing exchange full circle. We look forward to welcoming more students to Montreal in the future.