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Campus & Community

Due North: Drexel Students Learn Nuances of Canadian Health Care

June 15, 2015

The group of Drexel nursing practice doctoral students who participated in a study abroad program in Canada.
The group of Drexel nursing practice doctoral students who participated in a study abroad program in Canada.

Students in the nursing practice doctoral program in Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions embarked on a unique international study experience this spring to explore Canadian health care through the cultural lens of Canadian nurses.

The immersive (albeit condensed) study abroad experience allowed students to learn about evidence-based medicine where the notion was conceived and developed — at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Al Rundio, PhD, associate dean for post licensure nursing programs in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, said the topic is perfect for doctor of nursing practice students. “That’s what doctors of nursing practice do — they focus on evidence-based practice and improving outcomes for patients.”

“Each day, several topics were explored with both Drexel and McMaster University faculty giving a United States and Canadian perspective, followed by a lively and thought-provoking discussion among students and faculty members,” said Donald Wenzler, a doctor of nursing practice student who participated in the trip to McMaster this spring.

With faculty from both universities presenting daily, the differences in the Canadian and United States health-care delivery systems, policies and funding of health care were key focuses.

“Their model is very different from the United States, so it’s really enlightening to make the direct comparison,” said Rundio. “Many faculty at McMaster have gotten doctorates in the U.S., so they have a thorough understanding of the health systems in both countries. They compare and contrast them all the time, and that’s what we wanted our students to see.”

This is the second year the Canada study abroad program was offered. The seven-day experience was initiated in 2014 to better fit the demanding schedule of Drexel’s online doctor of nursing practice students, many of whom are working full-time in the field.  It continues to adapt to the ever-changing needs of students, and this year, master’s students were invited to join, making for a total of 18 students.

The three master’s students stayed an extra week to do their administrative practicum in Canadian hospitals.

“I learned new ways of approaching our shared issues in providing health to our nations, and I hope my participation was as valuable to my Canadian colleagues as theirs was to me,” said Wenzler.