Improving Nursing Education, Practice and Policy in Armenia

A Partnership Between
The American University of Armenia School of Public Health and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

YEREVAN, Armenia – The partnership between The American University of Armenia School of Public Health (AUA SPH) and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) is recommending that Armenia develop a culture of experimentation and testing for new nursing models and then expand them across the country. The recommendation comes after a one-day meeting on March 10th, 2016 when a diverse, global group of nurse leaders met in Yerevan to suggest an action plan to improve nursing education, practice and policy in Armenia.

The Nursing in Armenia Project Stakeholder’s Meeting was the culmination of a comprehensive project launched in October 2014 to complete a national, comprehensive assessment of the nursing landscape in the country. Penn Nursing’s Dr. Sarah Kagan, the Lucy Walker Honorary Term Professor of Gerontological Nursing, served as the Academic Consultant and Mentor for this project team. She is also an adjunct faculty member at AUA SPH.

AUA President Dr. Armen Der-Kiureghian and Provost Dr. Randall Rhodes welcomed the participants and made opening remarks. The Chair of Standing Committee on Health Care, Maternity and Childhood of the National Assembly of Armenia Dr. Ara Babloyan spoke about the importance of the project in his welcoming remarks.

Dr. Petrosyan, the Dean of the AUA SPH, highlighted the role of nursing workforce in the performance of health systems and the potential to improve quality of care, patient outcomes and efficiency of the health system through strengthening the nursing workforce and nursing education in Armenia.  

The project core team members Kristina Akopyan and Serine Sahakyan shared the most important findings from the project fieldwork that included:

  • a nursing curriculum assessment;
  • a nursing education, practice and policy assessment; and
  • a survey of consumers of nursing services.

After hearing the results, the diverse group of international and local attendees including policy makers, practicing nurses, researchers, nursing faculty, representatives of non-governmental organizations and international organizations broke into three working groups, based on their experience and expertise in the field, to suggest a plan of action and discuss the possibilities for modernization and restructuring of the field of nursing in Armenia. Among the international participants were nursing professors Dr. Cheryl Resha and Dr. Antoinette Towle from Southern Connecticut State University, which has a Memorandum of Understanding for collaboration with AUA, and Dr. Kathleen White, Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Science in Nursing Program of Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Dr. Ara Tekian, Professor and Associate Dean for International Affairs, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, facilitated the reporting of the education, practice and policy working groups. Dr. Haroutune Armenian, the AUA President Emeritus and Professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, synthesized and reflected on the project findings and recommendations suggested by the working groups.

The Nursing in Armenia team is now working on dissemination of the findings and a multi-year plan for strengthening the nursing profession in Armenia that is based on the project report and the recommendations from the March 10 meeting participants.

“Today was our first stakeholder meeting and it’s as though a dream has come true, because we were able to bring together people from all sorts of places in Armenia and around the world,” said Dr. Kagan. “We had such a fruitful and vibrant discussion, and we are beginning to think that what we found here is relevant for the much larger post-Soviet region of the world when it comes to the perception of nursing. We are hopeful that we can disseminate our findings and develop papers for an international nursing audience, so other former soviet republics can learn from our experience.”

This project and partnership between Penn Nursing and AUA was made possible thanks to the generous support of Edele Hovnanian, University of Pennsylvania alumna and trustee of her family’s foundation, the Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Foundation. The Hovanian family remains committed to improving lives and making a difference in Armenia.

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About the American University of Armenia School of Public Health

The AUA School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.

About the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is one of the world’s leading schools of nursing and is ranked the #1 graduate nursing school in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. Penn Nursing is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of nursing research funding from the National Institutes of Health. Penn Nursing prepares nurse scientists and nurse leaders to meet the health needs of a global society through research, education, and practice. Follow Penn Nursing on: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram & YouTube.

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Sarah Kagan: facilitating results presentation

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Armen Der Kiureghian, Haroutune K. Armenian, and Ara Babloyan

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Participants

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Participants

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Serine Sahakyan, Kristina Akopyan, and Varduhi Petrosyan

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Nune Dolyan, Kathleen White, and Ara Tekian

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Marine Sargsyan, Hripsime Hunanyan, and Antoinette Towle 

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Haroutune Armenian: synthesis and reflection

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Participants and 2nd year MPH students