, , ,

Strengthening Armenia’s Primary Healthcare System: AUA Embraces Training of Nurses

2 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia — During March-April 2023, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Turpanjian College of Health Sciences (CHS), in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Republic of Armenia Ministry of Health, developed and implemented a series of training sessions specifically designed for family nurses working in primary healthcare centers. The objective of these sessions was to enhance professional knowledge and skills for managing COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. This USAID-funded project, “Support to Control COVID-19 and Other Infectious Diseases Outbreak,” was implemented to further professional development in disease prevention and preparedness.

The AUA CHS team, in collaboration with international expert Tamar Avedissian, a nursing faculty member from the American University of Beirut, developed the training curriculum and materials congruent with international best practices in the field and in consideration of the findings from the needs assessments conducted by the CHS Avedisian Onanian Center for Health Services Research and Development.

The trainers were selected on a competitive basis, all possessing extensive work experience in nursing, and completed a two-day training of trainer (TOT) led by Avedissian. During these highly interactive sessions, they were introduced to the training package gaining a thorough understanding of its structure and content. Furthermore, upon completing the TOT sessions, the participating trainers continued working with the AUA-CHS team through various online and in-person meetings to examine the materials in more detail, practice, and improve their individual capacity to deliver high-quality and interactive training sessions themselves. 

The training covered a variety of topics, including COVID-19 basics, vaccination and vaccine hesitancy, data surveillance, infection prevention, the role of nurses in preventing and controlling communicable diseases, and patient/group education and communication. The training included diverse interactive activities, such as large group brainstorming, role-playing, donning and doffing of personal protective equipment, and other relevant games that further enhanced the knowledge gained and also allowed the participants to practice, share, and discuss their ideas and personal experiences. 

Overall, four sets of two-day training sessions were conducted. Pre- and post-training tests of 87 nurses from urban and rural facilities of Yerevan and the regions of Armenia were used to assess the effectiveness of the training, which revealed an average knowledge improvement of 68%. The participants expressed gratitude with respect to the training content and organization; they found the training materials and activities interesting, motivating, and highly applicable to their field. Moreover, the participants were very happy to work with the nurse trainers, which, they state, made the whole learning process more engaging and enjoyable. The National Institute of Health, after S. Avdalbekyan, granted 11 continuous professional development credits to the participants.

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