Bemidji State University to host Open World nursing delegation from Russia

BEMIDJI, Minn. — On Nov. 10 and Nov. 13, Bemidji State University will be hosting a group of nursing educators from Russia for an exchange program meant to showcase the University’s baccalaureate nursing education program. The visit is made possible by Open World, a program designed to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and Eurasian and Baltic nations.

Bemidji will host a group of five Russian nursing educators, a facilitator and a translator. The visiting educators are Inna Bespaova and Zoya Silich from Tomsk and Natalya Biryukova, Svetlana Melanich and Aleksander Ovsyannikov from Balakovo. The facilitator will be Tatyana Reva, who teaches English at Kursk State University.

“We’re really hoping to get exposure and gain an understanding of how Russia educates nurses as well as how cultures may influence these educational practices,” said Dr. Jeanine Gangeness, associate professor and chair of the Department of Nursing at Bemidji State. “The department is looking forward to giving our students the opportunity to interact with the visiting nursing educators so they can gain a global perspective on how nurse education happens in another country. We see this as an important global connection for students and faculty.”

Delegate visit
The visit by the Open World delegation is a continuation of previous relationships between the organization and North Country Health Care. A Bemidji-area delegation visited Russia in 2007, and during that visit several Open World alumni requested that Bemidji State University host a delegation of nursing program faculty from Balakavo. The faculty at Balakavo’s nursing school is exploring international standards and nurse-training models and seeks to initiate a partnership with the nursing faculties at both Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College.

The delegates will arrive in Bemidji on Sunday, Nov. 9, and be involved in a variety of activites in the community. Their first visit to the Bemidji State campus will be Monday, Nov. 10 for a tour of the BSU nursing program and a reception for the faculty at the David Park House.

The delegation will return to campus Thursday, Nov. 13, for a more comprehensive tour of Bemidji State’s nursing program. The day will include curriculum meetings, a look inside the accreditation process for a nursing program at an American university and meetings with students. The delegates will also get an opportunity to take part in a community health practice visit.

At the same time as the Open World delegation’s visit to Bemidji, a second delegation will be visiting La Crosse, Wis. The two groups will meet via teleconference mid-week to compare their experiences and find things they’ve learned to bring back to their respective communities in Russia.

“This international connection to nursing educators is important to our awareness of cultural differences and gaining a wider global awareness” Gangeness said. “We don’t really know what to expect, but we’re looking at this as a possible future opportunity for faculty and students.”

About Open World
Open World has developed a network of leaders in the Eurasian and Baltic regions who have gained significant, first hand exposure to America’s democratic, accountable government and its free-market system.

The program provides an overview of nursing education philosophy and theory in the United States. The program also provides an overview of the career ladder for nursing education and an exploration of the related responsibilities and skills for each level of nursing. Open World delegates learn about faculty and nurse program credentialing in the United States and the methods for improving the quality of nursing education. Delegates will also be given demonstrations on educational methods and distance learning technology, skills labs and partner clinic experiences with an emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving.

Health professionals in Tomsk are also maintaining connections with Minnesota health professionals through the Open World program to pursue their interest in nursing education methods. They are contributing to the development of a network of Russian nurse educators who are working to transform their education curriculum, methods and practices and the manner in which they develop new faculty.

For more information on Open World, visit it on the Web at

Geography Lesson
• Balakovo, Russia, is approximately 515 miles southwest of Moscow.
• Tomsk, Russia, is in south-central Russia, north and slightly west of the point where the borders of Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia meet. Tomsk is approximately 1,650 miles east of Moscow.
• Kursk State University is located in Kursk, Russia, approximately 310 miles south of Moscow.

For more information on the Open World visit to Bemidji State University, please contact the Department of Nursing at (218) 755-3860, or visit it on the Web at