A&M International Nursing Faculty Present Paper at National League for Nursing Meeting

Members of the Texas A&M International University Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing recently presented a paper at the 1998 National League for Nursing Education Summit in Chicago.

The paper, "Cultural Competence, Community Empowerment and Clinical Expertise," explored the importance of these three factors in effective nursing care.

Dr. Susan Baker, Director of the Canseco School of Nursing, said that the paper focused on the uniquely rich learning environment Laredo offers for nursing students and the importance of developing community partnerships.

"The Canseco School of Nursing was established to best serve its diverse community by building a transcultural nursing curriculum that emphasizes a variety of clinical practice experiences. Those experiences must help nurses to build competencies as highly skilled, expert and culturally sensitive clinicians while simultaneously building community empowerment expertise. We believe the combination of these two components creates an expert nurse who is a strong advocate and partner in his or her community's health and continued well-being," Dr. Baker explained.

Baker said that the Canseco School of Nursing's outreach efforts in colonias and a course in international and border health nursing help to provide these empowerment opportunities for the University's nursing students. A unique out-of-town clinical practicum experience in highly skilled trauma nursing also gives students the opportunity to apply the community concepts in a completely different context, she noted.

Faculty authors of the paper included Dr. Baker, assistant professor Natalie Burkhalter, visiting professor Dr. Janet Gottschalk and instructor Lisa Sanford. Representing the school and presenting at the conference were Ms. Burkhalter and a senior student in the school's RN/BSN program, Ms. Jamy Josey Tijerina.

Over 1200 nursing professionals and faculty attended the conference, representing 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada. More than 400 attendees heard the presentation from the Canseco School of Nursing and expressed special appreciation for the student presentation.

Among issues of special prominence discussed at the two-day conference were the future of nursing and properly preparing the nursing work force in the coming years to meet the challenges ahead.

Dr. Baker noted that change in nursing education is dramatic and necessary and participation in professional conferences like the NLN Education Summit help to insure that the University's nursing program is consistent with national and international guidelines.

"Health care today is rapidly changing. Old structures have to be redefined and new models created to better accommodate the changing needs of the communities we serve. We were gratified to see that our program is recognized as a leader in addressing these changing needs and that our students will be empowered to manage their destinies," she explained.

The University's nursing program delivers a four-year Bachelor of Science (BSN) and a BSN completion degree for current RNs. Both programs have become among the University's most popular offerings and have benefitted from the support of the local community.

For more information, please contact the Canseco School of Nursing at 326-2450. Information can also be secured by email by writing sbaker@tamiu.edu. Offices are located on the third floor of Canseco Hall, room 315.

Office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu