International Institute of Health Sciences (IIHS) has been the leading private sector Nursing and allied health training school in Sri Lanka for the last 15 years. IIHS trains professionals mainly for the international market using international curricula. IIHS maintains a close relationship with the Ministry of Health Sri Lanka and also with the NTSs. As CSR projects IIHS often helps the resource constrained NTSs in Sri Lanka. Due to this close relationship, the issue of completing the research module was detected and the management decided to launch a long term CSR project funded by IIHS and the board of directors called “IIHS Research Roadshow”.
“IIHS Research Roadshow” was there specifically planned as a project to overcome the above challenges and to deliver the subject knowledge of Health Research to diploma level nurses, with immediate, short term and long term outcomes in mind. Immediate outcome was for them to pass the research module, short term was to prompt them to complete the research and to present it and long term was to promote higher education and nursing data generation for the Sri Lankan health sector.
Each NTS was visited over 3 months where the program was conducted over a full day at each location. The visiting team had 12-14 persons. The team had experts in research, health, education and information technology. Firstly a theoretical input was given my two medical doctors and a nurse with post graduate research qualifications and international research experiences. Then the students were divided in to groups of 10 in each and were allocated a facilitator from IIHS for each group. A set template document was prepared using which the proposal could be developed within the group within few hours. Finally a demonstration was made on the specially designed Learning management system (LMS), through which the research teaching, facilitation, discussions and evaluations could be remotely and longitudinally continued. Then the students were invited to voluntarily register themselves in the LMS for free.
To make the program more closer to the recipient young students, a group of similar students from IIHS who are following more proper foreign affiliated nursing programs were trained on Research a period of time to be research mentors and facilitators. These students from IIHS have conducted many research projects each at IIHS and have presented them both locally and internationally. Typically half of the visiting team comprised of these students.
The Learning Management System (LMS) was specifically designed considering the socio cultural preferences of these nursing students, using the inputs of past nursing students after the first session in 2016. It was developed over a Moodle based platform. Material and content were designed mainly in English, with commentaries, explanation videos in Sinhalese and Tamil; the local languages. The Moodle mobile app was also demonstrated during the visits and was promoted as the access methods as the students had only few computers, but virtually everyone had a smart phone that is adequate to utilize the LMS. The LMS ensured that the teaching was ongoing, longitudinal and sustainable.
The project up to date had been carried out in two cycles, covering over 5000 nursing students. It has enabled all nursing students from all NTSs to graduate successfully. The project resulted in 40 students presenting their successfully completed research at esteemed conferences. The project to date has prompted over 350 diploma-level nurses to go for a higher educational qualification of a bachelor’s degree in nursing.