Vietnam project leaders

Emily Nguyen, RN, clinical outcomes leader, General Medicine (EP 9-7) (left), and Danielle Huseman, RN, Magnet manager, are among the YNHHS nurses participating in the Vietnam Nurse Project to help improve nursing training.

YNHHS nurses provide long-distance learning to colleagues on another continent

Nurses in Vietnam lack some of the medical technology U.S. nurses take for granted. They do not have access to nearly as much research and information on best practices. They have no clinical support staff such as patient care associates or clinical technicians.

But nurses there have at least one thing in common with their U.S. counterparts: They are eager to learn how to improve practice and patient outcomes, said Judith Hahn, RN, PhD, director of Nursing Professional Practice, Yale New Haven Hospital.

This spring, Hahn will begin her third year volunteering with the Vietnam Nurse Project, an ongoing academic-service partnership between the University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions and nursing professionals in Vietnam. The project aims to improve the education, training and practice of Vietnam’s nurses.

Last year, additional Yale New Haven Health System nurses joined Hahn: From YNHH, Danielle Huseman, RN, Magnet manager; Emily Nguyen, RN, clinical outcomes leader, General Medicine (EP 9-7); and Kelly Poskus, RN, patient service manager, Neuroscience ICU. Helen Brugger, RN, clinical resource nurse, Greenwich Hospital Long Ridge Medical Center, also participated. This year Chris Chmura, RN, YNHH Adult Emergency Department, will volunteer.

The YNHHS nurses and those from other U.S. hospitals formed teams that worked in two main areas: improving nursing practice and developing Vietnam nurses’ leadership skills and roles. Hahn and Huseman have visited Vietnam as part of the project, but most of the collaboration occurred via Zoom video conferencing.

Huseman, Poskus and Nguyen were on teams that helped Vietnam nurses identify improvement projects for catheter-associated urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia and falls.

“We provided them with the most recent evidence on best practices to address these problems, and guided them through Institute for Healthcare Improvement processes to implement those practices,” Huseman said.

The U.S. nurses are also helping those in Vietnam implement a form of shared governance, to give nurses more of a voice in practice that has traditionally been physician-driven, Nguyen said.

She has a special connection with the project – her parents are Vietnamese. “I’ve always wanted to an international nursing project, so this was perfect,” she said. “I feel fortunate to be able to take what I’ve learned and help other nurses.”