College of Nursing partners with Jordanian university

by Vicky Cerino, UNMC public affairs


The UNMC College of Nursing and the Al-Zaytoonah Private University (AZPU) of Jordan, have established an affiliation to advance nursing education in Jordan and the Arab region.


On Monday (Sept. 20), the UNMC College of Nursing formalized a three-year contract affiliation with AZPU that will include sharing its traditional and online nursing education and clinical curriculum. It also will provide faculty training in integrating online courses into traditional curriculum.


The College of Nursing currently provides courses to faculty at Erebouni College in Armenia, which was the first pilot site for the college’s strategy of moving the ‘global classroom’ model into other regions of the world, including the Arab world, India and China.


During Monday’s signing ceremony, UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., welcomed the Jordanian delegation to UNMC and Nebraska. “Our goal at UNMC is to be a world-class academic health science center,” he said. “This relationship we’re developing with Al-Zaytoonah Private University is a wonderful example of extending the expertise we have in nursing, particularly in distance education programs. We’re excited about the exchanges and possibilities with your university.”


“The visit here is very important. We are looking to improve the quality of our nursing programs,” said Naser Saleh, Ph.D., president of AZPU, which is south of Amman, Jordan. “We want to expose our students to outstanding universities so they can have a better chance of getting a job. We feel we’ve done our job when they get the best education and they’re serving the community. This is also one way we connect with other universities.”


Virginia Tilden, D.N.Sc., dean of the UNMC College of Nursing, said the college would share its model of online nursing education to help AZPU become a leader for Arabic nursing education. “The goal is to support Al-Zaytoonah Private University in becoming a hub for nursing education throughout the Arab world,” Dr. Tilden said.
UNMC and Al-Zaytoonah Private University (AZPU) representatives at the signing ceremony included, from left: Sheila Ryan, Ph.D., Charlotte Peck Lienemann & Alumni Distinguished Chair, UNMC College of Nursing, and director of International Nursing Education Programs; Iyad Al-Qirem, member, board of the trustee council, AZPU; Majeda El-Banna, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing, AZPU; Galeb Saleh, Ph.D., dean of economics and business administration, AZPU; Naser Saleh, Ph.D., AZPU president; Virginia Tilden, D.N.Sc., dean of the UNMC College of Nursing; and Harold M. Maurer, M.D., UNMC chancellor.


“The nursing shortage is global,” said Sheila Ryan, Ph.D., Charlotte Peck Lienemann & Alumni Distinguished Chair, UNMC College of Nursing, and director of International Nursing Education Programs. “It’s more than the numbers. It’s really a shortage in advanced nursing and patient care. We can help them deliver specialty areas in nursing such as cancer, critical care and community nursing, where currently there is very little. We also hope this partnership will ultimately benefit Iraqi nurses.”


The impetus for the alliance originated with discussions between Dr. Ryan and Majeda El-Banna, Ph.D., a May 2004 graduate of the UNMC College of Nursing doctoral program.


“Jordan is advanced economically and politically respected throughout Arab countries,” Dr. Ryan said. “Dr. El-Banna and I discussed creating a center in Jordan for UNMC’s nursing educational outreach programs.”


Officials say the advantages of the partnership include raising the quality of nursing education, which ultimately improves patient care, and addressing nursing shortages in Jordan and the Arab region. There are eight colleges of nursing in Jordan.


Dr. Ryan said the UNMC College of Nursing, which has more than 75 online nursing courses, has students enrolled in master’s and doctoral degrees across the country. “This partnership is an extension of the excellence of this faculty, which has developed and delivered distance education programs here for the last 20 years,” Dr. Ryan said. “We are maximizing that investment globally.”


University leaders exchanged gifts after a signing ceremony that established an affiliation between UNMC and Al-Zaytoonah Private University. Here, UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., left, presents an art glasswork paperweight to AZPU President Naser Saleh, Ph.D.


One of the first things the partnership will support is the creation of a learning resource center at AZPU. The center will be equipped with computers and other technology that allows students to learn and practice nursing skills independently. The center also will integrate online courses, audiovisual resources and address improvements in clinical instruction and evaluation.


“Rather than watch the instructor demonstrate a task once, then expect the student to perform the task, we will use a learning approach that reinforces practice using sophisticated tools in a simulated environment,” Dr. Ryan said. “It will help their faculty move beyond the ‘watch me, then do it’ model.”


The collaboration affiliation also will include consulting and assistance with accreditation processes, faculty and student exchanges, planning regional and global nursing continuing education programs, research collaboration and seeking global funding resources to support selected shared programs. UNMC also will assist AZPU faculty interested in pursuing UNMC’s online master’s and doctoral programs.


Dr. El-Banna said she was impressed by the academic and technological educational tools, while pursuing her doctoral nursing degree at UNMC. “I wanted to have the same things in my country that you have here,” Dr. El-Banna said.


Dr. Ryan, meanwhile, is impressed by Dr. Saleh’s vision and philosophy of online learning. “He already has asked faculty at AZPU to begin preparing online courses in all the college’s academic programs,” she said. “He wants to advance the quality of their nursing education in order to be a stronger resource to their community.”

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