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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Summer program offers global perspective to students from three cultures

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (July 2014) –

Students from three different countries came together for the Connell School of Nursing’s Global Summer Academy. The four-week course, which has now been held twice at Boston College since it’s inception in 2010, brought together nursing students from BC, Switzerland, and this year Chile.

Global summer course 2014

The program included students from Haute école de santé Vaud (HESAV) and LaSource in Switzerland along with students from new partner Pontifica Universidad Catholica (PUC) in Santiago Chile.

One Swiss student, Julia Roosens, who is studying at HESAV in Lausanne, said she chose to participate in the program after falling in love with the United States two years ago during a road trip to the states.

“I had met some great people at the time and couldn’t wait to keep on doing that,” said Roosens. “I loved confronting the idea I had of the country with a real experience of it, and I thought it would be even better to do the same on the particular subjects of nursing and health.”

Pam Grace, Kelly Stamp, CSON faculty at Global Summer Course
Associate Professor Pam Grace and Assistant Professor Kelly Stamp in front of a class

Faculty from the three countries also participated, teaching classes throughout the program’s length. The 3-credit course NURS5350 Global Health Care: Meeting Challenges and Making Connections, had eight Boston College students, sixteen Swiss students, and four Chilean students enrolled.

In the course, students and faculty discussed and synthesized perspectives on global health, specifically the challenges and common connections experienced across patient centered care, health education, health care systems, and policy development.

Students in Global Summer Course visit the New England Aquarium
Students in Global Summer Course visit the New England Aquarium

This summer, students and faculty had the opportunity to visit Massachusetts General Hospital, West Roxbury Veterans Administration Medical Center, state labs of the Department of Public Health, MIT, for a workshop in genetics, and also Swissnex Boston, an organization that works to bridge Switzerland and North America in science, education, art and innovation.

The global health program has been held in Switzerland twice so far, but this is the first time that Chilean students and faculty were involved.

“This has been brilliant, said Clinical Associate Professor Colleen Simonelli. “The students are well integrated. We’ve done a lot of group work.”

Simonelli, who also serves as the program’s coordinator, said she will travel to Chile in January 2015 with a couple students to see the program there firsthand and meet with faculty. And later in 2015, students and faculty from BC and Chile will go to Switzerland for a month-long course in Global Health.

Assistant Professor Melissa Sutherland talks to student

Additionally, in January 2016, students and faculty from the US and from Switzerland will go to Chile to take part in a Comparative Health Course in Santiago. Simonelli said the Connell School hopes to be host once again to the Swiss and Chileans for another summer course in June 2016.

“This collaboration with the Swiss and Chilean nursing faculty and students is allowing a wide array of global learning and leadership and is also laying a foundation for faculty collaboration and hopefully future faculty research," said Dean Susan Gennaro.

Students in Summer Global Course

The program’s goal is for participants to develop a deeper understanding of the particular needs of diverse and underserved populations. Through the lens of public health, the course explores assessment of health care needs, assurance of a quality health care infrastructure and development of health care policy.

Roosens said the main thing she took away from the summer course is the variety of answers to the same problem, and the necessity to put together and compare everything in order to choose the best solution for that situation. She said the experience will help her to become a better nurse, and she also is now aware of all the possibilities that the job has to offer.

 “It may not be the same opportunities in Switzerland yet, but knowing that it exists makes me want to explore more what I can do,” said Roosens.


-- O. Angela Bowser, Communications Specialist