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College of Nursing Visits Russia to Explore Local-Global Connections

The International Centre for Northern Governance & Development [ICNGD] is leading the University of Saskatchewan in creating a global presence for Northern economic development and governance and the College of Nursing joined the Centre to help further their focus on Health and Social Development. The College is deeply invested in improving nursing education and the provision of health care in northern Saskatchewan. ICNGD's joint programming between Saskatchewan and the Nordic and Russian partners for their northern studies program creates a pathway for linking northern nursing students with classmates experiencing similar geographic, socio economic and health conditions in northern and remote areas.

The University of Saskatchewan has lots to learn regarding specialized approaches for health care challenges particularly severe in the north, such as tuberculosis, frost bite, certain types of cancer such as lung cancer, seasonal effects on health (extreme weather differences, long winters, extreme cold and protein-centred traditional diets) and rural/remote maternal-child care. The North Eastern Federal University (NEFU) is located in Yakutsk, a city about the size of Saskatoon, in the Republic of Yakutia, Russia's largest "state", in the Russian Far East. NEFU has much to learn with regards to accreditation, regulation and professional organizations and associations as the profession of nursing evolves. An idea was put forward to establish a Summer Institute for Indigenous Health and Well-Being, with exchanges between U of S and NEFU students, especially northern and Indigenous ones, and eventually linking with nursing's Philippine partners to provide a north to south Indigenous health framework.

NEFU hosted an international conference, "The Role of the Higher Nursing Education in Nurse Development", on May 16th. Participants from the U of S College of Nursing included Dean Lorna Butler, Associate Dean North & North Western Campus and Rural & Remote Engagement Dr. Lois Berry, Strategist for Outreach and Indigenous Engagement Heather Exner-Pirot and Master of Nursing student Maxine Watt. The establishment of a Summer Institute, and research collaboration on relevant health issues particularly tuberculosis, will help create stronger local-global links as northern studies and nursing students learn from each other about promoting health and well-being given the circumstances found in northern communities. Aboriginal students rarely participate in international exchanges or collaboration, for a variety of social and economic reasons, so this is a concerted effort to make international exchange feasible and relevant for them.