Distance-based, Executive-style Degree Completion Program for Ghanaian Nurse Anesthetists (2014-2015)

Anesthesia care for the 25 million citizens of Ghana is almost entirely the responsibility of approximately 500 nurse anesthetists. Until recently, nurse anesthetists were trained in hospital-based diploma programs. In 2012 the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale, Ghana, began a bachelor’s of science degree for nurse anesthesia. Initially designed to train new nurses in the practice of anesthesia, the program is predominately filled with practicing anesthetists who wish to obtain a baccalaureate degree. The problem is two-fold: practicing anesthetists are leaving their communities for two years to earn their degree, and very few new providers are being educated.

The Bass Connections project team worked closely with faculty at UDS to transfer the existing degree-completion curriculum into an executive-style distance format. The goal was to utilize innovative technology and an executive training model to assist practicing anesthetists in completing their degree, allowing for a continuity of care in the community and opportunities to train additional nurses to administer anesthesia.

In September 2014, collaborators from Duke and UDS launched the first-ever executive-style distance-based training program for healthcare workers in Ghana. The program relies on a technology-based educational platform; in addition, students attend executive sessions on the UDS campus twice each trimester, engage in active learning activities designed to reinforce and build upon the distance curriculum and develop new clinical skills. The development and delivery of the program involves a team-based model of mentoring, bidirectional learning and ongoing evaluation.

The project team collected data to evaluate the program’s implementation. In addition, students from the Duke Global Health Institute’s Student Research Training program conducted surveys of the program’s students, families and colleagues at their hospitals, and used film and photography to document the Ghanaian students’ experiences as well as work and study environments.

Preliminary analysis of the data showed that the distance education program implementation goals were successful; UDS clinical learning goals are being met through the distance-based model; and differences in cultural learning styles provide insights into types of additional clinical skills training needed.



Team Outcomes

Development, implementation and evaluation of a distance-based education program for nurse anesthetists in Ghana

Evaluation of a Distance-based Education Program for Ghanaian Nurse Anesthetists: Clinical Capacity (poster by Jenny Li and Samantha Zepeda)

Duke SRT Student Perspective, Student 1 Interview Excerpt, Student 2 Interview Excerpt, Mixed Interviews Clip (videos by Jenny Li)

Will to Serve (photo essay by Jenny Li)


6 Hours of Power

Customs and Cattle and Coastlines...Oh, My!

Experiencing the Beauty and History of Ghana

Tamale or Bust!

Hi, Ho, Hi, Ho...

Blackout in Tamale...

Work Hard, Play Hard!

What It Really Means to Care

Wrapping Up the Week at UDS

This Team in the News

Distinctive Global Health Grads (Jenny Li)

Building Nurse Capacity in Africa

Filling in the Gaps

Well Connected

Jenny (Jingwei) Li: My Bass Connections Pathway

Witnessing the teamwork required for a project’s implementation and continuation from an inside perspective was inspiring. Collaborators from nursing, anesthesiology, global health and computer science were all involved in this Bass Connections team, and each person was integral to the success of our summer research project. —Jenny (Jingwei) Li

See related team, Further Developing the Implementation of a Distance-based Executive-style Degree Completion Program for Ghanaian Nurse Anesthetists (2015-2016).

Team Leaders

  • Sumedha Ariely, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Theophilus Benson, Arts & Sciences-Computer Science
  • Jennie De Gagne, School of Nursing
  • Brett Morgan, School of Nursing
  • Adeyemi Olufolabi, School of Medicine-Anesthesiology

/graduate Team Members

  • Preston Harrington, Nurse Anesthetist-MSN
  • Ginger Jones, Nurse Anesthetist-MSN
  • Kyle Smith, Nurse Anesthetist-MSN
  • Rebecca Swensen, Nurse Anesthetist-MSN

/undergraduate Team Members

  • John Victor Alencar, Economics (BS)
  • Ethan Levine, Public Policy Studies (AB), Global Health (AB2)
  • Jenny (Jingwei) Li, Sociology (AB), Global Health (AB2)
  • Samantha Zepeda, Biology (BS), Global Health (AB2)

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Thomas Anabah, University for Development Studies, School of Medicine & Health Science, Ghana
  • Sylvanus Kampo, University for Development Studies, Ghana