Posted on Jun 1, 2020

Nurse Faculty Join Global Webinar on Leading During a Pandemic

Nurse Faculty Join Global Webinar on Leading During a Pandemic

USF College of Nursing faculty shared their expertise in global health and discussed how nurses can take the lead in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 during an international webinar centered on nursing leadership during a pandemic.

Assistant Professor Ivonne Hernandez, PhD, RN, IBCLC, and Professor and Director of Global Health Barbara Smith, PhD, RN, FACSM, FAAN, were invited to present “Nursing Leadership in Times of a Pandemic by COVID-19” to the Universidad Del Norte’s Department of Nursing and the nurses at the University Hospital in Barranquilla, Colombia.

The collaboration was an effort to solidify the global partnership between the college, USF Health, and The Universidad Del Norte. The webinar, held on May 21, was similar to a nursing Grand Rounds event, where nurse leaders present on a specific topic.

Dr. Smith said their presentation focused on COVID-19, the public health efforts to mitigate the virus transmission, and the important role that nurses play.

“I believe nurses must lead in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Colombia, just as I think we need to lead here in the United States,” she said. “Nurses deliver the most intimate care to patients, and that puts them at the most risk for acquiring COVID-19.”

During the webinar, Dr. Smith recommended these changes:

= Nurse educators need to ramp up training in the treatment, cure, and prevention of transmission of the virus.

= Nurse administrators must support front line nurses by advocating for personal protective equipment and taking measures to reduce burnout of front line nurses.

= Ministries of health must consider how to provide just compensation for nurses and better work place safety.

Dr. Smith emphasized that even in Colombia, nurses need to be focused on global health issues that transcend national borders. She pointed out that the first COVID-19 case in Colombia is believed to be someone who traveled to the South American country from Turkey.

“Remember, air travel can bring diseases from any part of the world to Colombia in a day or less,” Smith said.

Dr. Hernandez, who presented her portion in Spanish and translated Dr. Smith’s part, talked about how COVID-19 can easily spread in group gatherings.

She discussed a case of virus transmission in Arkansas, where symptomatic people attending a church event in early March helped spread the virus to other church members, which then led to more cases in the community.

The pair traveled to Colombia in early October in 2019 to establish ties with the hospital. A student global trip to Barranquilla in late March was cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing