College of Nursing

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U of S, IDRC, NurseONE,and SaskTel Partner on Caribbean Nursing Initiative

December 4, 2008

The University of Saskatchewan College of Nursing today announced a $1.15-million international development initiative that will take a technology-based approach to providing better access to health information to nurses in the Caribbean.

Through a partnership with the International Development Research Center (IDRC), the Canadian Nurses Association - NurseONE and SaskTel (through Salveo, a joint SaskTel and Alcatel-Lucent project), the College will provide nurses in five developing Caribbean countries with personal digital assistants (PDAs) linked to a wireless network.

Canadian researchers will be working in close collaboration with Caribbean-based health experts and practitioners in Barbados, the Dominican Republic, the Commonwealth of Dominica, St. Kitts-Nevis and St. Lucia, with the aim of promoting knowledge exchange and strengthening local capacity in the areas of nursing training, care and quality of health services.

"Nurses in these countries struggle to find up-to-date medical information. If their hospitals have medical libraries at all, the books are often out of date. In some cases, they have to rely on public libraries. All of this cuts down on the time and quality of care they are able to invest in their patients," says Pammla Petrucka, the U of S associate professor of nursing who heads the project.

"With the PDAs, these nurses will now have at their fingertips up-to-date information for conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and HIV/AIDS. They will be able to participate in local and global discussion groups on health issues. They will also be better able to assess patient status, analyze trends and identify potential problem areas for client care. All in all, it will provide opportunities to improve accuracy, minimize errors and speed up information sharing."

NurseONE is an extensive nursing information and capacity building portal previously only accessible to Canadian nurses and nursing students. SaskTel/Salveo is providing a unique remote monitoring capacity to the project. Major funding for the project is being provided by IDRC.

For further information, contact:

Pammla Petrucka
College of Nursing
University of Saskatchewan
(306) 535-9597

Cam Zimmer
University Research Communications
University of Saskatchewan
(306) 966-2427

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