Evaluation of a training program for nurses specializing in anesthesia and resuscitation in Cambodia
Following the signing of a treaty drafted between the Cambodian Ministry of Health, Médecins Sans Frontières, and the universities of Paris Nord and Bordeaux-II, the first class of sixteen nurses completed the training in anesthesia and resuscitation, between September 1991 and June 1993. The training course took into account the special context in which the course was planned and organized. By bringing together the specific skills of non-government organizations and universities, the students obtained high quality professional skills which have become extremely rare in Cambodia, where almost all competent health-care professionals have disappeared. The results of the program were evaluated several months after the graduation. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, evaluators tried to assess if the nurses were able to apply what they had learned, if the course material was relevant, and how well the nurses adapted in terms of actual work, and professional recognition and development. Eight months after graduation, the nurse anesthetists' activities represented approximately 24% of the total activity of the departments in which they worked. Thirteen of the sixteen nurses received significant professional recognition for their responsibilities in the departments, and for their independence in administering anesthesia. The working conditions were satisfactory, and the nurses were able to correctly apply what they had learned and solve many problems. However, because the anesthesia and resuscitation departments were being set up at the time of their arrival, the nurses were not able to fully care for the patients during the pre- and post-operation periods. Objectives for improving the training courses were defined, following a detailed analysis of the results of the study. However, proper supervision of the newly trained nurses remains an essential element in maintaining their competencies and motivation. By 1997, fifty-four people (fourty-five nurses and nine doctors) should be trained in anesthesia and resuscitation. The continuation of the school depends on the possibility of the Cambodians to take charge of the program. For this purpose, two of the graduate nurses began training as teachers in November 1993.
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