Washington DC, 14 June 2023 (PAHO) - The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and with GAC's financial support, has facilitated the participation and graduation of six nurses from the Region of the Americas in a specialized diploma program in Care Management and Advanced Practice Nursing. This initiative was carried out within the framework of a project aimed at improving the health of women and adolescents in situations of vulnerability.
The course was offered in Spain by the Andalusian School of Public Health, from November 2021 to March 2023, focusing on the development of general competencies in clinical leadership. The participants are nurses who perform advanced practice roles, or other professionals responsible for care management in different organizations, management levels, and care settings. The 750-hour course provided knowledge and skills for clinical, teaching, research, managerial, and consultant roles in care management and advanced practice nursing.
A total of six nurses—two from Colombia, two from Ecuador, and two from Peru—received scholarships to participate in the course.
"The purpose of this initiative is to broaden the discussion on the role of advanced practice nurses with universities, ministries of health, health services, and health professionals," said Silvia Cassiani, PAHO/WHO advisor on nursing and allied health personnel.
"We hope that the nurses can advocate for the expansion of the role of nursing in their country, especially at the first level of care for population groups in situations of vulnerability," she added.
The nurses' final projects addressed topics such as primary health care with a life course approach, improvement of maternal-perinatal care, development of social skills in adolescents, and education and follow-up for adolescent patients with chronic diseases.
"The course raised issues that allowed us to reflect on the professional situation of nursing practice, as well as the paths that are opening for the expansion of the field. In particular, there is a commitment to raise the role of advanced practice nursing with decision-makers in the health and education systems and to seek recognition of the importance of promoting it," said Luz Mery Hernández, a professor at the National University of Colombia and one of the nurses who completed the course.
"It has been a wonderful experience in which I have gotten to know colleagues from different Ibero-American countries. We have shared experiences on care in different contexts. I have attended lectures by nursing practitioners from around the world, with a flexible methodology," said Taycia Ramírez Pérez, a professor at the University of Guayaquil, Ecuador, who also completed the course.
"The course has allowed me to develop competencies in advanced practice nursing, strengthening my leadership and the exercise of care management in the health institution where I work. "Also, nursing students were included in the development of educational materials for the final diploma project, as part of social responsibility activity," said Yesenia Retamozo Siancas, a professor at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Peru, who took the course.
"In Peru, there is work to be done in recognizing advanced practice nursing as a key intervention in health promotion, disease prevention, and care, especially in rural and neglected areas with limited human resources. It is also necessary to recognize practices that are already being implemented, for example by nurses in burn units, in palliative care, and nurses who provide chronic patients with medication and who use telehealth to manage care for these patients, among others."
Since 2013, PAHO has been carrying out activities and initiatives to promote an expanded role for nurses. In 2018, PAHO published the document 'Expanding the Roles of Nurses in Primary Health Care'.