Nursing makes global health connections

Sandra Cadena, PhD, ARNP, (center) director of Global Health at the USF College of Nursing, with visiting nursing faculty members, from left to right, Lourdes Graciela de Alguero, Universidad de Panama in Panama City; Amanda Lucia Bonilla M., Universidad El Bosque in Bogota, Colombia; Yaira Pardo, Universidad El Bosque in Bogota, Colombia and Linnette Palacios de Castillo, Universidad de Panama in Chitre, Panama.

Nursing faculty from Colombia and Panama visited the USF College of Nursing Jan. 28 to talk about the health care systems in their Latin American countries and how nursing is taught and practiced there. Nearly 50 USF undergraduate nursing students and faculty members attended the presentations.

The four Latin American nursing faculty members, along with four from Japan, were sponsored by the local Delta Beta chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Society of Nursing. The next day, Jan. 29, they were featured speakers at the chapter’s annual Research Conference in Tampa; the theme of this year’s conference was “Global Nursing: Get Connected” in keeping with the society’s focus on international nursing.

Sandra Cadena, PhD, ARNP, assistant professor and director of Global Health at the USF College of Nursing and a past-president of the Delta Beta chapter, hosted the visitors during their stay in Tampa. Dr. Cadena was instrumental in establishing a USF College of Nursing exchange program with the University of Panama School of Nursing nearly five years ago. Since then, more than 65 USF nursing students, accompanied by faculty, have traveled to Panama during the summer for field experiences in variety of community health settings — from pediatric and maternity community clinics, mental health hospitals, and the mountain villages of Panama’s native Indian tribes, the Peninsula of Azuero, to more traditional settings within Panama’s university.

Dr. Cadena also has global health connections in Colombia, South America, where she conducted a Fulbright Specialist project this fall. Consulting with faculty at El Bosque University in Bogota, Colombia, she helped develop a graduate psychiatric-mental health nursing curriculum, expand research focused on cultural competency, and foster educational exchange opportunities for nursing faculty and students.

“There is an expectation and a desire on the part of our students to reach out and to understand people from other parts of the world,” Dr. Cadena said. “It is important that we position our students to positively contribute to various aspects of global health.”

– Story by Anne DeLotto Baier, photo by Eric Younghans; USF Health Communications