Gangeness to lecture on experiences establishing on-line nursing education in Samoa

BEMIDJI, Minn. (Feb. 2, 2010) — Even in developing nations with limited technological resources, it is possible to develop and deliver on-line education courses. Dr. Jeanine Gangeness, chair of the Department of Nursing at Bemidji State University, traveled to Samoa twice in 2009 as part of the Pacific Open Learning Health Net. That organization, sponsored by the World Health Organization, provides electronic learning opportunities to health-care professionals in the Pacific region.

Gangeness will speak about her experiences in Samoa on Thursday, Feb. 4, as part of Bemidji State’s Honors Council Lecture Series. The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in Hagg-Sauer Hall room 112.

After completing their initial education and finding employment in the villages of Western Samoa, registered nurses had no access to continuing education. Pacific Open Learning sought to close this education gap through on-line course delivery, but needed a larger group of individuals capable of creating and teaching the courses.

In Feb. 2009, Gangeness was selected to make two trips to Samoa and help establish this group of individuals. She made her first trip to the island nation in March and made a second trip in late June and early July of last year, then continued in an advisory role through December.

In Samoa, Gangeness worked with the country’s National Health Service at National Samoan University and started a program with 22 nurses. With a combination of in-person and on-line instruction, this group of nurses was shown a variety of techniques for developing and delivering on-line education.

“Some of the people in the program were faculty, some were nurses and some were hospital employees,” Gangeness said. “There were all levels of skill as well. Some were just gaining skill in on-line course delivery and others were ready to begin offering courses.”

Gangeness’ lecture will include an overview of the challenges of establishing on-line education in a nation with limited technological resources and how cultural and socio-economic issues impact the development and delivery of on-line courses.

Gangeness is the chair of Bemidji State’s Department of Nursing. Her research, “Built Environment and Rural Women: A Case Study Approach,” included two rural communities and has been a conduit of further exploration of rural culture for her research and for the nursing program and curriculum at Bemidji State. She also is published in the areas of tobacco policy, case study design, built environments and on-line nursing education.

Gangeness also taught for one year in the practical nursing program at Bemidji’s Northwest Technical College. Prior to her teaching career, she had broad experiences as a full-time nurse in a variety of areas including pediatrics, orthopedics, telemetry, oncology, spinal care, medical-surgical, and IV float staff.

Gangeness earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing from the University of North Dakota.