University of Calgary

Nursing students learn how to drive healthcare change at international conference

UToday HomeJuly 17, 2013

Brenda Bui, left, and Mia-Bernadine Torres at Faneuil Hall Marketplace in downtown Boston. Brenda Bui, left, and Mia-Bernadine Torres at Faneuil Hall Marketplace in downtown Boston. Two nursing students from the University of Calgary were among 150 students from around the world attending an international conference on what it means to be a leader who implements change in healthcare systems.

Third-year students Brenda Bui and Mia-Bernadine Torres beat stiff competition to become part of a six-person Canadian contingent at the recent two-day Student Quality Leadership Academy, part of the Open School program of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend this conference,” says Bui, who is also vice-president (events) of the Calgary Healthcare Improvement Network (CHIN), a student-run chapter of IHI. “I was able to meet many like-minded students and professionals from pharmacy, medicine, nursing, public health, health administration and more, and it really inspired and motivated me towards our common goal of healthcare improvement.”

Conference attenders also studied the power of connecting and networking with other professionals, and the importance of understanding the healthcare system so that they, as future practitioners, can attempt to improve it.

Torres, CHIN’s vice-president (internal), was selected for a panel Moving Forward: A Panel on Applying the Learning with a Harvard University medical student, an engineering student from Clemson University and two physicians, one from Brown University and one from Boston Medical Center, where she presented her perspective on the Canadian healthcare system. “I saw a little of how we each can, theoretically, help each other,” she says. “It really showed me that there is power in collaboration and the sharing of ideas.”

Both women enjoyed the opportunity to explain their own nursing education to other attenders. “I was proud to talk about how my clinical practice and theory courses gave me a taste for thinking innovatively, collaboratively and as a leader in order to provide the best care to Calgary’s vulnerable population,” Torres says.

Mia-Bernadine Torres stands in front of a display of runners’ shoes at the Boston Marathon bombing site.Brenda Bui stands in front of a display of runners’ shoes at the Boston Marathon bombing site.In addition to expanding the breadth of her knowledge about the various existing healthcare disciplines and their roles, the conference also sparked interest for Bui in the structures around patient safety and quality. “It has prompted me to begin thinking of how to lead change and improvement once I enter the healthcare system.”

The students were able to see some of the sites of Boston, including a trip to the location of the Boston Marathon bombing. “It really gave our conference more depth and allowed for more perspective in the context of leadership,” Bui says.

The IHI is an independent not-for-profit organization based in Cambridge and is an innovator in health and healthcare improvement internationally. The IHI Open School is committed to developing students into the next generation of improvers through free online courses and an international network of chapters.

CHIN aims to delegate, promote and provide opportunities for students to become engaged in current healthcare issues within the city.

A portion of the students’ trip was paid for by the Faculty of Nursing Dean’s Office.



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