Outlook

Partnership flourishes

Friday, March 30, 2012

Chilean nursing students Tania Canteros and Vivianaam Neira, from Universidad de Concepción, instruct workers at a dairy farm northeast of Rice.

A partnership between St. Cloud State University, CentraCare Health Systems and the Universidad de Concepción in Chile continues to blossom.

“It really is quite rewarding,” said Elizabeth Valencia- Borgert, of the Center for Continuing Studies and the Foreign Language and Literature Department at St. Cloud State and the project manager. Many have been instrumental in the program’s success, including Dr. John Mahowald, senior cardiologist; and Robert Johnson, executive director at CentraCare Heart and Vascular Center, St. Cloud Hospital nursing professional staff; and the St. Cloud State Department of Nursing Science and its counterparts in Chile.

The benefits of this partnership include having St. Cloud State nursing students spend one month in Concepción, following their Chilean counterparts in their Public and Community Health class, as well as Universidad de Concepción nursing students visiting here under the Leadership and Management Initiative (financially supported by the CentraCare Health Foundation). Of particular importance is the enhancement of CentraCare Health System’s outreach work with the local Latino population.

Recently, CentraCare Heart and Vascular Center donated more than 700 pounds of medical supplies and equipment to the Hospital Regional de Concepcion through the Universidad de Concepción. It was St. Cloud State’s Valencia- Borgert, who made sure that donation, valued at more than $50,000, made it to its destination.

Currently two nursing students from Concepción are in St. Cloud, and plans are to send nursing students from St. Cloud State abroad in the fall on the Public and Community Health initiative, Valencia-Borgert said. These education abroad nursing experiences benefit students, nursing faculty, hospital employees, and regional Spanish speaking populations. “Through exchange experiences, we learn from each other about health problems and treatments. It is a very beneficial program,” Valencia-Borgert said.

The Chilean students, Viviana Neira and Tania Canteros, and two SCSU nursing students, Rebecca Crowe and Tara Condon, visited a Rice dairy farm that employs a number of Latino workers with limited English skills, to work with them in regard to farm safety issues.

That visit was videotaped and will be shared at the upcoming Central Minnesota Farm Show, Valencia-Borgert said. St. Cloud State’s Center for Continuing Studies and the Nursing and Science department, in collaboration with CentraCare Health System, will set up a booth to provide information on farm safety targeted to Latino workers.

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