UNCG Magazine

UNCG nurses lead education effort in refugee crisis

UNCG Nursing makes an impact regionally and nationally. And, with a refugee crisis along the borders of Ukraine and beyond, internationally as well.

In the midst of the Ukrainian refugee crisis, UNCG nurses are collaborating with the Moldova Nurses Association to help. A new program through the NC-Moldova Nursing Collaborative is providing education for Moldovan nurses as they care for refugees of the Russian invasion into Ukraine.

A Zoom webinar on Thursday, March 10, with many nurses in Moldova and Ukraine invited, focused on the common infectious diseases, managing chronic conditions, special conditions for vulnerable populations, and unique needs of the refugee population. Dr. Audrey Snyder, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Experiential Learning and Innovation, was a presenter. Dr. Deborah Lekan and Dr. Nancy Hoffart, who are each recently retired from the UNCG Nursing faculty, provided the welcome and the closing remarks, respectively. Snyder notes that NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and US Ambassador to Moldova Kent Logsdson provided comments at the webinar.

UNCG faculty Dr. Vadim Korogoda and Snyder are members of the collaborative; Hoffart and Lekan are co-chairs. Together with Moldovan nurses and administrators, they plan to hold a series of six webinars to educate nurses in and near Moldava during this time; this seminar was the first. They will be made available through YouTube links disseminated by the Nurses Association of the Republic of Moldova.

“This morning was a humbling experience,” Snyder said in an email interview afterward. “We hit the maximum Zoom webinar capacity at 500 attendees – although one zoom site may have had a dozen healthcare providers together at one site to view. Elena Stemposcaia, President of the Moldovan Nurses Association, indicated the topical presentation was very helpful. The appreciation by the nurses was evident in the chat box.”   

A moment during webinar. More than 500 participated.

Snyder saw participants from throughout Moldova: All five colleges of nursing in the Republic of Moldova were represented, as was the medical university. There were many hospitals and clinics represented. “Some of the different specialties that we were able to discern were gynecology, urology, pediatrics, cardiology, surgery, neurosurgery, perinatal, pulmonology, septic surgery, adolescent health, and others,” she said. “All this to say: Many, many nurses and probably many physicians wanted the info.”

Korogoda, a School of Nursing clinical assistant professor with a nurse anesthesia focus, added, “The people in Moldova, including my family, are generous people and will help anyone in need but they themselves have limited resources.” He believes these webinars will help the nurses as they help with the refugee crisis, as it was so unexpected and not something the nurses have dealt with before.

This work is supported by a Rotary Grant, Snyder notes, and translation at the sessions is supported by the Global Rural Nurse Exchange Network. 

The Associated Press reports more than 2 million Ukrainian citizens have crossed the border into other nations in order to escape the invasion by the Russian forces. According to the collaborative, Moldova has received the largest number of refugees as a country in proportion with its population density.

UNC Greensboro’s School of Nursing, as well as the Guilford Rotary Club, has had a history of collaboration with Moldovan nurses. In 2019, the Republic of Moldova Ambassador to the United States visited the UNCG School of Nursing, marking 10 years of the school’s collaboration with Moldovan nurses. At the time, they discussed hopes of increasing the capability of Moldovan nurses to help improve the health of their citizens.

This program is another step in the collaboration, addressing public health and aiding vulnerable people in a time of need.

See articles from past years on UNCG/Moldovan educational ties here and here.

By Mike Harris and Vivian Campbell, for UNCG Magazine

Note: Post updated on 3.13, with added perspective from Dr. Korogoda.

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