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City Tech Receives U.S. DOE Support For International Nursing Ed Partnership

“Advancing nursing education in the areas of end-of-life palliative care (pain management) and medical self-management (patients’ own management of their healthcare) is a key to raising the quality of healthcare in the U.S. and abroad,” says City Tech Nursing Professor Patricia A. Cholewka. She is project director of a new two-year initiative, “Integrating Self-Management and Palliation Concepts (IMPACT): Health Policy and Nursing Education Implications.”

This project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), seeks to discover and technologically disseminate best practices in palliative care and self-management nursing education here and in the European Union (EU).

City Tech will collaborate with Case Western Reserve University (Ohio), University of Dundee (Scotland) and Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (Lithuania, formerly Kaunas University of Medicine) on this study with the support of a $69,658 grant from a Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) US-EU/Atlantis Grant. City Tech’s proposal was one of seven policy-oriented measures to be funded during this cycle.

The collaborating educational institutions will work to create a trans-national, trans-cultural matrix of best practices in evidence-based palliative care delivery to underpin policymaking. Their findings will be disseminated widely through professional nursing organizations in the U.S. and EU. Then, these partners will begin curriculum studies on palliative care across their national nursing programs.

Attending recent 2010 FIPSE Project Directorsí Conference in Berlin were Prof. Patricia Cholewka (far right) and, from L-R: Prof. Keville Frederickson (Lehman-CUNY), Jurate Macijauskiene (Lithuanian University of Health Sciences) and Marilyn Lotas (Case Western Reserve University).

“Medical self-management and palliative care are among the fastest growing specializations in the fields of nursing and medical education in both the United States and the European Union,” Dr. Cholewka says. “Our partners bring to the table complementary expertise arising out of their different education systems, healthcare delivery systems and cultural approaches to end-of-life care. We feel we can produce recommendations that will impact healthcare policy on two continents.”

Global migration and the fact that humans are living longer have put pressure on traditional family structures, and aging alone is no longer unusual. “For example, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where a number of our students will eventually practice nursing, has the highest concentration of elderly people living alone in their own homes in the entire United States,” Dr. Cholewka says. “Government reimbursements for home care have declined and individuals and their caregivers are left to fend for themselves.”

“Lithuania, as does many of the post-Soviet transitional societies, confronts a public health situation in which the isolation of the elderly is compounded because there is a very weak technological and home care infrastructure,” she adds.

According to Dr. Cholewka, a Bay Ridge resident, the majority of nursing education programs are still evolving to meet the acute challenges of aging populations in an era when the technology of medicine has outpaced societal decision-making on how to deal with end-of-life issues. “Policy makers and educators alike need the framework and benchmarking criteria that this project will produce,” she says. “This grant, therefore, comes at a most opportune time.”

The DOE grant is an outgrowth of earlier collaborative work undertaken in Lithuania by Dr. Cholewka, who received a Fulbright Scholar Research-Lecture Award for residency at Vilnius University in 2007-2008 and a 2010 Fulbright Follow-on Award to Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in global-public health. She recently established an international faculty exchange between City Tech and that institution.

City Tech, where medical self-management and palliative care nursing will be taught within a very broad cultural framework, is the lead U.S. institution on this project. The partner educational institutions each brings a unique perspective to the project:

  • The Francis Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, with its advanced research capacity, will offer students the opportunity to conduct research and service projects abroad.
  • The University of Dundee, the lead EU institution for this project, is the only university in Europe and Asia to deliver nursing baccalaureate and master’s degree programs that hold an accreditation from the American National League for Nursing Commission (NLNAC).
  • Lithuanian University of Health Sciences is the largest institution of medical and nursing education and healthcare training in Lithuania. The university offers palliative care courses at the postgraduate level for nurses, medical doctors and social workers and its PhD students conduct international projects in palliative care.

“All the partners in this project are eager to improve the quality of the lives of our respective, and respected, elderly populations which we will all eventually join,” Dr. Cholewka says. “In addition, I am privileged to take part in a project that happens to represent both strands of my heritage – the Baltic and the Gaelic.”

11.03.10


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