For the first time since an agreement was signed five years ago, students from India are participating in an exchange program with the School of Nursing at the University of B.C.’s Okanagan campus.
The visitors are from the Royal Institute of Nursing (RIN) — a school located in Batala, in the Punjab state.
Students Kamalpreet Kaur and Sukhmanpreet Kaur are in their final year of the three-year General Nursing and Midwifery program, while Parminder Singh is in his second year of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. They and their vice-principal Rajwant Kaur Bajwa are in Canada for about six weeks.
Through a partnership agreement between the School of Nursing and the Global Education and Charitable Trust, which operates RIN, nursing faculty from UBC visit India for a five-week period each year.
Last year, Deborah McCullough, associate professor of nursing, and fellow faculty member Louise McIntosh travelled to Batala and worked with the staff and students from RIN to organize a geriatric nursing seminar for all students, teachers, and nurses in the area. In previous years, UBC faculty have organized health fairs for residents in remote villages. McCullough stresses the partnership is about sharing ideas to improve health care, especially for those living in remote areas.
The Global Education and Charitable Trust is run by four brothers originally from Batala. The brothers wanted to establish a nursing school to support their community in India, and to do that they needed a partnership with a university. They chose UBC’s Okanagan School of Nursing because of its reputation for delivering an outstanding nursing curriculum.
“We are very excited to have the students with us in the Okanagan this year,” said Barbara Brown-McKenzie, associate professor of nursing, noting that while the two institutions have had an agreement since 2008, this is the first year students have made the trip to Canada.
So far, the visiting students and their teacher have sat in on nursing lectures, participated in seminars, student presentations, clinical labs, and simulations. They have visited a number of practical settings including UBC Okanagan’s health centre, and hospitals in Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and Oliver.
“We’ve also taken them to some community practice sites such as the hospice, Cottonwood Care Centre, Vernon Community Care, and other types of care facilities,” says McCullough.