Four nursing leaders from Loma Linda University Medical Center and Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center recently traveled to Huangzhou, China to conduct a nursing leadership conference as part of the Third Annual International Academic Week. The conference—which was held at Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital (SRRSH) on October 15 & 16, 2008—attracted more than 80 nurses from SRRSH and other health care facilities of the region.
The four LLU nursing leaders—Norie Bencito, CMSRN, MSc, Hazel Curtis, RN, MPH, Debbie Damazo, RN, MS, CPAN, and Ellen McCarville, RN, MS, CPAN—lectured on a variety of nursing leadership topics and conducted interactive seminars designed to help nurses at SRRSH gain increased recognition for their vital contributions to health care throughout the People’s Republic of China.
The story of how LLU became involved in the conference underscores cooperative aspects of the affiliation between LLU and the Chinese hospital. Hazel Curtis, at Loma Linda University, views the process of selecting topics for the lectures and presentations as a collaborative effort that began when Feng Jine, RN, MS, director of nursing education at SRRSH, visited Loma Linda in June, 2008, for her graduation from the off-campus master’s degree program offered through the LLU School of Nursing.
Ms. Curtis says that Ms. Feng sat down with Jan Zumwalt, RN, MS, MBA, associate director of the global health institute at Loma Linda University, and herself to discuss which topics would be meaningful to their nursing staff.
“We wanted to make sure that what we were going to present was what they actually wanted,” Ms. Curtis recalls, “and would benefit them the most.”
That conversation was followed by live videoconferences between nursing leaders of both organizations. After extensive consultation, it was agreed that the following topics would be presented: Ms. Bencito would discuss “Building a Functional Team,” Ms. Curtis would speak on “Creating a Coaching Culture,” Ms. Damazo would address “Nursing Empowerment,” and Ms. McCarville would talk about “Transformational Leadership.”
The videoconferences made a vivid impression on Ellen McCarville. "Seeing and dialoguing on video conference with the SRRSH nursing vice president and director of nursing education helped us realize how much they wanted to make their nursing leaders transformational,” she shares. “They wanted to have a voice in healthcare and to help shape it. When we walked away from the second videoconference, I knew we would be able to hit it on the head for them."
Jan Zumwalt says LLU’s participation in the Academic Week is a natural outgrowth of the LLU affiliation with SRRSH, and Zhejiang University Children’s Hospital (ZUCH).
“A little over a year ago,” she notes, “a couple of the Chinese nurses who mentored under Norie Bencito during their rotation here suggested that we hold a nursing leadership conference in China so that a greater number of their nurse manager colleagues could benefit from additional leadership training. We felt it was a valuable idea since it would allow us to enhance the professionalism of nursing in China.”
For Hazel Curtis, the venue grew to include ZUCH as a result of a request from Katherine Fu Cangcang, RN, a pediatric surgical intensive care nurse who came to Loma Linda as part of LLU Children’s Hospital’s agreement of clinical cooperation with Zhejiang University. Ms. Fu, who was in California to learn methods of caring for pediatric cardiac surgery patients to share with her nursing colleagues in China, identified communication between Chinese nurses and members of their patients’ families as an area that could be enhanced, and suggested that Ms. Curtis should make a presentation on that topic at ZUCH during her visit to Hangzhou.
“That was really cool,” Ms. Curtis remembers. “We called the presentation ‘Making Small Moments Count,’ and the conference room was full. There were even physicians present. At the end of the meeting, Li Zhongli, director of nursing at ZUCH, stood up and said—in Chinese of course—that as of that very day, they would begin holding rounds at patients’ bedsides with family members present. While I felt that was an important step forward, Katherine was so excited, she was jumping in her skin!”
Not without good reason. Hazel Curtis recollects what happened when she and Katherine went for tea after the Making Small Moments Count presentation. “Katherine told me she just wanted to make a small improvement in nursing care at her hospital,” she states, “but I told her she had no idea what a huge difference she had already made.”
Ye Zhihong, RN, PhD, vice president for nursing at SRRSH, notes that the two-day event “left a deep impression on attendees. The director of nursing from Taizhou Hospital said: ‘I really enjoyed the lecture. As a nurse manager, I now recognize that it is important to encourage my nurses as much as I possibly
Ms.Ye also reports that another participant was similarly impressed with what she learned. “Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital’s nursing program is a modern model in China,” she quotes the unnamed nurse manager as saying. “I am so lucky that I was invited to attend this wonderful conference. I hope I can come here next year to learn more.”
Jan Zumwalt is similarly excited. “It has been gratifying,” she reflects, “to see how eager the Chinese nurses are to learn. It’s also been very rewarding to see the progress the nursing profession has made in the nearly 15 years since Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital opened and we began mentoring and working with them.”
Ms. Zumwalt cites the success of the nursing leadership conference as evidence of what she perceives as a very positive trend. “They invited nurses from other hospitals all over the province,” she points out. “They are no longer learning from us as much as they are teaching others in China. We consider it a privilege to have been a part of this development.”