Master's Program Stresses Compassionate Care
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
--William Butler Yeats
A big step toward creating a more loving, forgiving and compassionate health care system is training professionals in the field to work from a place of love and kindness. A new international effort is creating a graduate program in nursing and allied health designed to do just that.
Building upon scholarly research and rooted in the values and work manifested at Finland’s Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (DIAK), the Fetzer Institute is supporting work to create a new Master’s Degree in Global Health that is infused with love, compassion and forgiveness. The project is being led by Dr. Ikali Karvinen and a joint project steering group with representatives from three partnering institutions of higher learning and working life representatives.
Three workshops, framed around learning questions of love and forgiveness, were held during the 2012-13 academic year to gather data and develop curricula materials for the program. Outputs included objectives, core content, the implementation plan and some literature for each study module. Altogether 11 study modules were modified or created for this master’s program.
"Health is much more than only physical, mental, or social well-being because it includes also the well-being of the environment and the community,” writes Karvinen in a May 2013 article in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. His work as a nurse-researcher in Africa has informed his vision for a Master’s degree program in Global Health Care which has goals for students to have a better grasp of the ethics of global health, to understand the role of love and compassion in health care, and the meaning of human dignity and relationship-centered care.
The Master’s Degree in Global Health will be offered at DIAK as well as the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton in Kenya and the Arcada University of Applied Sciences in Finland.
It is intended that this curriculum will not only introduce a new way of approaching nursing and allied health science education at these institutions but will also form the basis of a model that has cross-cultural relevance and will positively influence master’s level education in these disciplines at a broader level.
As one participant summed it up: “Extension of love and forgiveness goes a long way in contributing to healing and fullness of life. When there is a feeling of forgiveness, there is a peace in mind.”
This is a project of the Fetzer Advisory Council on the Health Professions.