I’m Just Getting Started!
I doubt you’ve stumbled upon this blog accidentally, but if you have, welcome! Let’s get the brief introduction out of the way. My name is Taryn Burhanna. I am a faculty member at the College of Nursing at Kent State University in Kent, OH. I have taught many clinical rotations and didactic courses in collaboration with other brilliant faculty members. My favorite courses to teach are Pharmacology II (miss you Professor Davis!) and Community Health Nursing, of which I am the course coordinator. I am also a Nurse Practitioner at a Federally Qualified Health Center providing primary care services to underserved populations in my area.
Why Take Nursing Students to London?
One of the principles central to nursing, whether it be bedside nursing or population and community health nursing, is an understanding of how healthcare policy influences certain social determinants of health. Therefore, students here at KSU’s CON are required to take a health care policy course, and concepts of health care policy are heavily woven into the Community Health Nursing course. So to be honest, my journey to London began when I accepted the position to teach Community Health Nursing.
Prior to the pandemic, I was interested in real-time comparisons between the healthcare system of the United States with other developed nations whose health outcomes are better than ours. Seeing COVID widen the gap of disparities was heartbreaking for me. We are one of the richest nations in the world, so why is our life expectancy lower than similar countries’ rates? Why is our infant mortality rate higher? I know what the studies say (we don’t value universal access to care, we focus on sick care versus preventive medicine, we have problems with cost and quality, etc.) It still doesn’t answer why? And more importantly, how do we close the gap?
Do you get it – we’re headed across the “pond?”
For perspective, I wanted to visit one of the first nations to implement national healthcare with good outcomes. Germany did this first, but I don’t speak a lick of German, so that’s out. So let’s go to England – they weren’t too far behind time-wise, and their healthcare system is a model that many nations look to emulate. Plus, I’ll be able to understand most of what I hear there! I’m not necessarily looking to answer the impossibly difficult questions posed above. What I’m really looking for is the type of cultural experience, for me and my students, that deepens one’s understanding of their world.
My goals for this inaugural trip are to:
- Provide a rich, diverse learning environment for a select group of nursing students.
- Learn more about the NHS (England’s National Health Service) in a real sense from citizens who live in the system and breathe that air – not from the books I read over here.
- Cultivate overseas connections to create a lasting program that can create social change agents on a micro and macro level.
Not ambitious at all, right?
Join me, Dr. Curtis Good and 15 nursing students from all walks of life on our journey. I will post every evening from March 25th through March 31st. Especially to my students past and present – I welcome your comments and interaction.