Victoria University of Wellington’s graduate nursing school formed the Growing our Own partnership with the National University of Sāmoa (NUS) School of Nursing to help NUS boost its research capability and postgraduate qualifications both within the school and the nation’s broader nursing and midwifery sector.
From July 2018 the initiative will see Victoria’s Dr Robyn Maude and Dr Ausaga Faasalele Tanuvasa from the University’s Faculty of Health, deliver five PhDs, eight Master’s degrees and up to 40 diploma and certificate courses in Sāmoa. Implementation of the programme at NUS is being led by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Fui Le’apai Tu’ua ‘Ilaoa Asofou So’o and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences Soi Salā Ma’atasesa Samuelu-Matthes.
Victoria’s Associate Professor Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika), says the ability to continue their studies in Sāmoa will enable students to remain working in the community, support their families and actively contributing to policy, practice and teaching. “We want to help enhance the resilience of the Sāmoan people through best practice and primary health care – fa’a Sāmoa, so it is essential that research is undertaken by Sāmoans in Sāmoa on Sāmoan issues,” she says.
“The ultimate objective is the provision of appropriate postgraduate qualifications by NUS to ensure nurses, midwives and other health professionals have equality of access to study, which will allow them to identify research issues and develop solutions relevant to Sāmoa in a manner that best allows them to serve the Sāmoan people.”
Gary Ward, Manager of Knowledge Transfer Services at Viclink, Victoria University’s commercialisation arm, worked closely with Victoria’s Dr Kathy Holloway to support the University’s Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health through the establishment process. “We worked with NUS to define clear success criteria. If a model or option didn’t meet our partners’ and stakeholders’ needs it was discarded. As a result Growing our Own has the full support and belief of all stakeholders across the education and health sectors in Sāmoa,” he says.
The Prime Minister of Sāmoa, the Hon. Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesoliai Dr Sailele Malielegaoi, has been a fundamental supporter of the programme due to its alignment with his vision for improved primary health care. He said 2018 was a poignant time to launch the programme as Sāmoa was both remembering 100 years since the influenza pandemic decimated 22 percent of its population and celebrating 100 years since the nursing profession was established in Sāmoa.
Holloway said it was an exciting opportunity to work with our Sāmoan colleagues to grow their own nurses and midwives, to stay at home and strengthen their own health system and to serve their people fa’a Sāmoa.”