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Keywords:

  • Collaboration;
  • Continuing Education;
  • Ecuador;
  • International Nursing

Background:  The Ecuador Project is an ongoing venture with hospitals in Guayaquil, Ecuador owned by the Junta de Beneficencia working with the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University, Utah, USA.

Aims:  In efforts to positively change patient outcomes in these large charity hospitals, a cultural exchange of staff and student experiences have taken place for the past 6 years.

Materials and methods:  Over 900 hospital personnel in Ecuador have participated in classes including neonatal resuscitation, paediatric and adult advanced life support, and basic life support. The courses were organized and implemented through combined efforts from both groups and have been well received by all participants.

Results:  Positive changes have been observed and are improving health care in Ecuador.

Discussion:  This paper reviews our experiences through the ‘Ecuador Project’ which have shown there are five ‘R's’ that guide an international educational exchange: realistic goals, repetition, reinforcement, reassessment and remaining open to change (Table 1). First, realistic expectations must be set. Are the intended outcomes desired by all individuals involved, and are they attainable? Repetition and reinforcement of new concepts are important in all types of education, especially where there are cultural and language differences. Reassessment of the outcome is essential in determining the effectiveness and alignment of teaching strategies. Lastly, remaining open to change is vital to maintaining open and lasting relationships in an international setting.

Table 1. Five ‘R's’ of an International Educational Collaboration (Sheri P. Palmer and Deborah R. Bracken)
Five ‘R's’ of an International Educational Collaboration:
Realistic goals
Repetition
Reinforcement
Reassessment
Remain open to change

Conclusion:  Using these five ‘R's’ can guide the success of any international venture.