News and Announcements

Reflections from Haiti

January 23, 2017

A blog post by Alexis Lawton, director of development and communications for the Regis Haiti Project

Haiti 1-2017 VisitFor one week in mid-January, the Regis Haiti Project team traveled back to the island to continue to educate and inspire the next generation of the country’s nursing leaders.

Advancing the Nursing Profession in Haiti

Members of the team met with project partners from the Haitian Ministry of Health and the State University of Haiti to present updates on the project’s progression and to lead discussions regarding the transfer of leadership of the graduate nursing education program to Haitian officials in 2018, with Regis’ continued support. This paradigm shift from training toward implementation and the provision of a nursing master’s degree credential from the University of Haiti represent major steps toward advancing the nursing profession in the country.

“Together with the Haitian nursing leadership, we are setting forth a new model for nursing education in Haiti. Regis is steadfast in its commitment as we begin our sixth year of teaching, inspired by the tenacity of our Haitian nursing colleagues whose voices for nursing are clearer and louder than ever before.” – Nancy Street, executive director of the Regis Haiti Project

Preparing for the New Plan

During the team’s meeting with the new Rector of the State University of Haiti, Fritz Deshommes, Regis outlined a plan for the next phase of implementation that will support a unified transition and foster collaboration.

“We are very thankful for Regis’ consistency and unique approach, which is not always typical of non-profits in Haiti. We are especially grateful for your pledge to assist with the implementation process alongside us.” – Fritz Deshommes, rector of the State University of Haiti

A Return to the Classroom

As the Regis team shared a renewed commitment for the future of the project in Haiti, members of Cohort 3 were attending classes. The leadership track course, “Organizational Structures for Nursing Leadership,” was co-taught by graduates from Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 and mentored by Kellie LaPierre, Regis nursing faculty member and project director of curriculum and faculty mentoring, and Valerie Hunt, Regis’ associate dean of graduate nursing and project volunteer.

Staying Connected

Toward the end of the week, the Regis contingent hosted a luncheon meeting for alumni of the program to further encourage a team approach in moving nursing forward in Haiti. It was an especially touching day as the group gathered on the 7th anniversary of Haiti’s devastating earthquake. Recognizing the challenges ahead, the group discussed the great value a master’s-prepared nursing faculty will have at the university-level and ultimately on patient care. It was a unique opportunity to bring nurses together from all regions of the country to discuss ways to promote professional development for nurses in Haiti.

“Honestly, before I began the master’s program at Regis I didn’t fully understand how important it would be. I now understand the project’s impact, and embrace the responsibility I have as an alumnus.” – Germaine Pierre, graduate of Cohort 1.

Making Strides Toward a Brighter Future

With 25 graduates with a nursing master’s degree and another 12 who will graduate next year, the group is ready to take the project forward and motivated to lead the changes that need to be made in Haiti for the nursing profession, with Regis’ continued support. Graduates reflected on the power of their education and its ability to support that change. Influenced by President Hays’ previous addresses to the group, and something that has become a standard cheer amongst the Haitian nursing faculty, the conclusion of the meeting was celebrated with a loud declaration of “Go Nursing! Go Haiti!”

Please Note: Members of the Regis Haiti Project who made the week-long journey include: Nancy Street, executive director of the Regis Haiti Project; Alexis Lawton, director of development and communications; Nathalie Davidson, Regis nursing program alumna and volunteer project translator; Harry Gerard, program coordinator for advocacy; Kellie LaPierre, project director of curriculum and faculty mentoring; and Pritika Patel, graduate assistant and current Regis graduate nursing student.

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