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Northern Students Participate in Learning Institute in Norway

August 02, 2017

Nursing students from Norway, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Finland and Russia recently gathered together in Tromso, Norway for the 2017 Innovative Learning Institute for Circumpolar Health. Among the attendees, were College of Nursing’s Randa Jawad-Trudel and Shania Petit from the La Ronge Campus, as well as Dr. Lorna Butler.

The Innovative Learning Institute for Circumpolar Health is a network of universities who provide distributed/decentralized nursing education. The goal of the institute is to bring students and educators together to talk about the accessibility and quality of baccalaureate nursing education in northern regions.

The second annual Innovative Learning Institute, hosted by The Arctic University of Norway (UiT), builds on the success of the inaugural institute that was hosted by the University of Saskatchewan in August 2016 and the pilot program hosted by Northeastern Federal University, Yakutsk, Russia in 2015. The theme of this year’s event was “Roots and Identity”, and participants were encouraged to explore the notion of cultural awareness and what it means when providing nursing care in rural and remote regions of the Circumpolar North.

Randa Jawad-Trudel feels grateful she was able to participate in the Institute. “It was very useful to have the opportunity to discuss the healthcare difficulties experienced in other isolated indigenous communities in the Circumpolar North. It gave Shania and I the chance to find out what challenges we have in common with the other students, but also how issues there have been remedied, with the hope that we can adapt the same solutions to Northern Saskatchewan. It was a great way to form partnerships with future nurses from around the world who share a common goal of providing better health care to their indigenous populations. It was wonderful to learn about the Sami people, their way of life and their history. The Sami people have a lot in common with Canadian aboriginal peoples, such as being sent to boarding school and the attempt to assimilate them with the Norwegian culture. Northern Norway is absolutely beautiful.”

“There is no better way for students to learn about different cultures, than to experience them first-hand,” said Dr. Butler. “It is important for students to realize the similarities in how health care is delivered in remote regions of the Circumpolar world. Students from Northern Saskatchewan have much to offer, as well to learn, as together best practices are created with colleagues who experience the same challenges regardless of geography.”

Shania Petit echoes what Randa had to say about the experience and adds, “Norway was an absolute dream. Getting the chance to learn, share and grow with a group of like-minded individuals from different countries, provinces and territories was unbelievable.”