The Cheryl Spencer Department of Nursing, a leading academic institute for nurse education in Israel, continues to expand the scope of its services.
The Department, part of the Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, provides unique programs for the training of nurses. The Department’s vision and mission are inspired by the legacy of Cheryl Spencer, her compassion for people and her passion for the art of nursing.
Dr. Efrat Dagan, at left, Head of the Department, recently announced that the Department will be offering a Doctorate in Nursing, the first of its kind in Israel. “We want our doctoral program and its graduates to make a difference in the health and well-being of communities in Israel,” said Dr. Dagan. One of the key components of the doctorate is a program to reduce disparities in health care access and status among marginalized populations in northern Israel.
“Our program will contribute to the empowerment and professionalism of nursing executives, expanding their professional horizons,” Dr. Dagan added, “and as a result improving their ability to cope with the challenges currently facing modern nursing and — no less importantly — those facing patients.”
The Department is active internationally as well.
- The international bachelor’s program receives students from four Norwegian Universities, and negotiations have begun with a fifth. The Bachelor’s program integrates theoretical and clinical practice and students gain experience at several hospitals in the greater metropolitan Haifa area including Rambam and Mt Carmel Medical Centers.
- New collaborations on several international programs are underway. These include a winter intensive session with University of Maryland students from Law, Social Work and Nursing focusing on Social Justice and Health Equity. In addition, through a collaboration with officials from the country of Rwanda a program with two goals is being formulated: 1) providing master’s level education to qualified Rwandan nurses to facilitate improved health care in Rwanda, and 2) creating research collaborations.
- Other international collaborations, in different stages of development, are in progress with the University of Georgia and University of Massachusetts in the U.S., and Mahidol University in Thailand.
The Department’s clinical unit’s simulation program not only is actively engaging students, but also is continuing to grow in sophistication and quality. Students learn from theater-based human simulations with actors and study from self-paced computer simulations with problem-based learning on a broad spectrum of clinical topics.
The simulation center addresses the shortage of hospital-based clinical placement. We are in the process of creating an innovative and novel project –the Cheryl Spencer Virtual Hospital -in which students will be able to experience clinical practice as avatars.
In addition, a member of the Department faculty, Dr. Oleg Zaslavsky, at right, who completed his doctorate at the University of Washington thanks to a scholarship from Cheryl Spencer Memorial Foundation, won the prestigious Alon Scholarship presented to Israeli’s best young researchers. (Read more about Dr. Zaslavsky here)
The Cheryl Spencer Department of Nursing at the University of Haifa was founded in 1996. Until now 2,000 graduates have completed their first degree at the Department. About five years ago the graduate studies program was opened, with about 70 students each year. The central resource of the Department, which will support the doctoral program, is the Cheryl Spencer Institute of Nursing Research, the first research institurte in Israel that deals with the study of nursing.