Digital practices of nursing education are developed in international higher education cooperation

SmartNurse – Developing Teachers’ and Nursing Students’ Competencies in Digital Nursing is a three-year Erasmus+ Capacity Building project, which started in November 2020.

The European DigiNurse and Asian DigiCare projects have paved the way for TAMK’s international project work on digital nursing themes in Latin America. The cousin projects’ synergy is used in the project, which has offered extensive networks for the project participants and enabled dissemination and application of project outputs in different continents. Despite the synergy, all the projects have individual objectives and contents planned for their local context.

The SmartNurse project develops our Latin American partner universities’ nursing education, especially use of digital and active teaching methods. The project focuses on primary health care and health promotion themes.

TAMK coordinates the project. Our project partners are the University of Ljubljana from Slovenia, Universities of Aguascalientes and Gerardo Barrios from Mexico and Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí and Specialized Institute of Health Professionals from El Salvador.

The project was prepared in close cooperation with all the partner universities. The partners’ innovativeness, enthusiasm and networking skills already became clear in our first meetings a year ago. It was a pity that one of our active partners decided to leave the project due to the corona epidemic, but it did not affect the beginning of the project. In the kick-off webinar we met each other as old acquaintances even if we had not had any face-to-face meetings. The whole project group waits for the moment when we can meet face to face after the Covid-19 maelstrom.

Together towards future curricula

The project develops and updates our Latin American partner universities’ degree programmes in nursing. The work starts with familiarisation with research evidence on active and digital teaching methods and digital possibilities in primary health care and health promotion, which is followed by creation of the first version of the SmartNurse methodology. Based on the partner institutions’ needs, teachers participate in a variety of workshops and thereafter pilot the teaching methods, technical services and digital applications with students.

Based on the feedback on the first pilots, the SmartNurse methodology is revised and integrated to a minimum of ten nursing courses. The revised courses are piloted and the process is crowned with SmartNurse recommendations.

The SmartNurse project aims at ambitious effects: increase teachers’ pedagogical and digital skills as well as use of the skills in teaching, students’ studies and future nursing. In addition, the partners’ expertise grows in international project cooperation, development of curricula and use of technology.

Even if we aim high, we believe that it is possible to achieve our objectives because the project cooperation and local networking with decision-makers are already on a high level. We want to thank the guests of honour of our kick-off webinar, European Union Ambassador to El Salvador Andreu Bassols and TAMK’s Vice President Kirsi Viskari for their greetings and encouraging words.

Text: Annukka Isokoski and Nina Smolander, Senior Lecturers from TAMK’s School of Health
Photo: Nina Smolander

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