‘Global nurses’ revel in personal, professional growth

Mentors partner from near and far to grow mother-child care overseas

‘Global nurses’ revel in personal, professional growth

Growth is a common theme when it comes to the Global Nurse Mentorship program.

Career growth through hands-on experiences and problem solving. Personal growth through traveling the world and learning about different cultures.

And that’s a big reason why the program was created, says Sanford World Clinic director of global operations Johna Kern.

“The program has been described as life-changing both personally and professionally for participants,” said Kern.

The program, launched in 2021, is highly competitive according to Kern. Out of the 80-100 applicants, fewer than 10 are chosen every year, and nurses who are chosen must:

  • Join World Clinic partners virtually 10 hours per month.
  • Visit their partner World Clinic at least once.

Nurses work with World Clinic partners to provide insight to specific aspects of health care.

Partnering near and far

Carrie Henning, a registered nurse in special procedures at Sanford Health in Worthington, Minnesota, worked with providers in the West African country of Ghana. Together they focused on care for babies in breech position during pregnancy – bottom or feet first – as well as neonatal jaundice, postpartum depression, chlamydia in pregnancy and fetal monitoring.

“I also attended monthly peer review meetings which reviewed documentation. During my trip to Ghana, I shared information on neonatal resuscitation and vacuum extraction procedure. I was able to tour all four clinic locations and meet staff,” Henning explained.

Henning said a highlight of her trip was observing an infant delivery.

“It was amazing to witness the compassion, skills and intuition of the lead midwife Grace at the time of delivery.

“It was informative to meet with the staff there and to be able to observe their day-to-day routines. We have a lot of similarities in our practices, but they have less access to technology and equipment,” said Henning.

‘Why I first became a nurse’

Jackee Haak, RN, Family Birth Center director at Sanford Health in Fargo, North Dakota, said her project was to work with a team at Hospital Metropolitano in Costa Rica in Central America over the course of nine months. They met on a weekly basis until she traveled there at the end of the project.

Haak said she worked on policy and procedure development, and RN education and development in the maternal/child space.

“This experience had a tremendous impact on my professional life. It pushed me to think outside the box and to learn how to adapt to the resources that are available,” Haak recalled.

“The mentorship reminded me of why I first became a nurse 20 years ago. It’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day work, but getting a chance to be reminded of my love of teaching and my compassion of taking care of moms and babies is priceless,” she added.

Personal growth from travel

Haak said the program also had a profound impact on her personal life.

“Travel of any kind is so impactful. There’s so much to learn when connecting with people from other areas and experiencing cultures outside of your own. Don’t let fear or apprehension stop you from exploring opportunities like this. It’s OK to be nervous, but don’t let that stop you from having adventures!”

Kern said outside of professional and personal growth, the program is a way to say “thank you.”

“It’s a way to give back to the hard work and dedication of our Sanford nurses. The satisfaction derived from knowing that our efforts contribute to advancing health care globally is genuinely fulfilling.”

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Posted In Children's, Nursing and Nursing Support, People & Culture, Pregnancy, Women's, World Clinic