Bangladesh and Back Again

DrCynthiaBakerA trip that began over three weeks ago has come to a successful end. I have just arrived back in Canada from Dhaka, Bangladesh where CASN is contributing to a CIDA project focused on improving the quality of nursing education in the country.

Travel is always an excellent stimulus for reflection, particularly while passing the time on long airplane rides, and this trip was no exception. I found it especially heartening to see a country’s aspirations for the future targeting the education of nurses.  This was our second trip over the past year and I had the opportunity to see progress on many levels and related to  the quality of nursing education. Interestingly, Bangladesh was recently identified as having made significant economic gains in the last decade, attributed in part to increased education for, and workforce participation of WOMEN.

Canadian nurses have always recognized that high quality education for nurses significantly benefits a society and the health of its population. Historically, assuring that this happens has been a battle – with educational gains often eroded. No doubt, the gender of many nurses in Canada has been an important contributing factor to the difficulties that we have faced. Indeed, battling to improve the standards of nursing education was the raison d’être for a small band of women to come together and create our organization in 1942.

Whenever I travel outside of Canada on behalf of CASN, however, I am struck by the high regard for Canadian nursing education and Canadian nurses on the international stage. Reflecting on this while sitting in airports on my return trip from Dhaka, I recognized there has been considerable progress in nursing education within Canada, particularly in the last twenty-five years. But we are not there yet! There are still forces to combat and battles to be won in support of quality nursing education in this country.

Signing off for now,

Cynthia Baker