Nurses Share Hypertension Knowledge
A full room of nurses in Kampala, Uganda, fell silent as Dean Martha N. Hill, PhD, RN, spoke into the microphone. “We’re very happy to be here talking with you about hypertension,” she said. “Welcome to cyberspace.”
At the first-ever continuing nursing education program in Uganda, nurses from both Johns Hopkins and Makerere University presented hypertension case studies and led a dialog about standards of care in the two countries.
Questions from Makerere ranged from best practices (Why is it important to reduce alcohol when the patient is hypertensive?) to healthcare economics (How much does medication cost in the U.S.?). Nurses at Hopkins were curious about the healthcare environment in Uganda (Is traveling to India for a renal transplant common practice?).
Sometimes, it was difficult to hear the questions and answers from a room on the other side of the world; the program suffered from audio difficulties, lighting problems, and limited camera positions. “We learned a lot in our first session,” said Theron Feist, Instructional Technology Manager at Hopkins. “Next time, we’ll schedule a more comprehensive dry-run beforehand. During the event, we’ll communicate with the technical staff in Uganda if we need to make adjustments.”
In Uganda, attendees received stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, and extra course materials—five video lectures, PowerPoint® presentations, research articles, position papers, and an evaluation quiz on hypertension—all on a CD designed by Karen Gibbs, a Johns Hopkins MSN/MPH student. She spent three weeks in Uganda last fall, collaborating with Makerere faculty and staff nurses on the materials.
“I was working on building capacity at Makerere, but it was already there,” said Gibbs. While she came up with the basic outlines for the hypertension lectures, it was Makerere nurses who made the culturally appropriate changes, finalized the slides, and gave the lectures for the CD.
Gibbs worked closely with assistant professor Sara Groves, DrPH, MPH, MS, RN, CS, who is in Uganda for two years to facilitate needs assessments and assist in teaching public health nursing at the Makerere University (MU) Department of Nursing. The initiatives are part of a multi-tiered program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and facilitated through the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health, aimed at improving health outcomes in Uganda and East Africa.
“I hope that this highlights the importance of continuing education for nurses, and helps them take even better care of their patients,” says Gibbs.