Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Teaching Relational Practice Seminars

We have had the pleasure of preparing and presenting a seminar about Relational Practice at the University of Developmental Studies, in Tamale.  We have presented to two groups of third & fourth year nursing students, as well as third year 'top-up' nursing students. Top-up students are diploma nurses returning to school to obtain their Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  We have a similar program at UBCO. 
View from the second story of the Health Science Building at UDS
The girls getting a snack at UDS
Our presentation has been very well received by the students and faculty. The students were engaged and eager to learn, taking notes during our presentation and asking relevant questions. Our presentation discussed the definition and key components of relational practice. We also discussed the reason why UBCO holds relational practice to the same esteem as professional practice and health and healing: Because nothing in nursing is done without relationships with others. We further discussed examples of relational practice and the importance of incorporating it into nursing practice.
After the lecture portion of the presentation we provided an activity for the students to play. We handed out paper and paper clips to the students to pin to each other's backs. Then the students walked around the lecture hall and wrote one positive attribute on each student's back that they identified with that person. After sufficient time for the students to write on their peer's backs, they took their seats and read their own papers with all of the attributes their peers had identified in them. We tied the activity back to an important aspect of relational practice by informing the students that you cannot see an attribute in someone else if you do not yourself possess the same attribute, regardless if you are aware that you possess the attribute or not. For example, you cannot identify a caring, compassionate individual if you yourself are not both caring and compassionate. Jeanette further addressed this key message and spoke to the students about the importance of seeing the positive in each person and patient you encounter.

Overall, we have enjoyed presenting and engaging with the UDS nursing students and hearing their ideas and perspectives on relational practice. We will also be teaching this seminar in Bolga, Ghana, to more nursing students there. We feel passionately about the relational practice learning we have received in Canada and are eager to share it with the UDS students. The UDS students also gave great examples and definitions of relational practice when we asked them questions, and they too agree that relational practice is vital to good nursing practice and patient-centered care.
150 second and third year BSN students.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Nicole,

    I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during your class on relational practice at UDS. From the students' responses, it sounds like RP itself is not a culture bound concept - but rather, it seems to tap into a universal human need to see and be seen, and respected and nurtured, for who we are as humans.

    It would be interesting to invite your Ghanain colleagues to share with you what they see as the supports and barrier to RP in their contexts - and how they try to practice relationally within their contexts. It would also be interesting to explore how research on mindfulness - which Jeanette is well versed in - can inform our understanding and enactment of RP.....

    Tricia Marck