Nairobi Center hosts nursing school's Global Practicum Program a second time

The Masters Direct Entry program is designed to teach nursing students more about real-world experiences and scenarios.

June 07, 2023

For the second year in a row, the Global Practicum Program at Columbia Nursing School took place in Nairobi, Kenya, one of the designated practicum sites in Africa. The practicum program enables Columbia nursing students undertaking the Masters Direct Entry program to learn more about real-world experiences and scenarios that prepare them to provide an accurate and independent diagnosis. The school partnered with the Nairobi Center and the University of Nairobi’s Department of Nursing Sciences to conduct the practicum at the country’s oldest and second-largest hospital in East Africa - Kenyatta National Hospital. For six weeks, the students rotationally shadow nurses and doctors in various units, including the accidents, emergency unit, and pediatric department.  


Dr. Lilian Omondi

Dr. Lilian Omondi, one of the students' supervisors and lecturer at the University of Nairobi's Department of Nursing Sciences, praised the students for their outstanding adherence to standards during her ward shifts, even amidst the challenges of a third-world environment. Dr. Omondi noted that although the maximum length of the program is six weeks, a lot still needs to be done, including negotiating with the operating theaters to enable the students to build up skills such as resuscitation and incubation as the students rotate in acute departments such as accidents and emergency where every second and minute counts. 



What did the students have to say?


Kamila Nuritova

I decided to do my practicum on this global site because this was my first time going to any African country, and I wanted to gain hands-on experience while meeting the students here. Losing a patient whom I had been caring for for days was my most memorable experience, as it taught me about the death process here in Kenya. The relationships I built with the nurses, staff, and doctors are something I will cherish forever, as we shared many little moments while I learned about healthcare at KNH.


Jennifer Ihedioha

Jennifer Ihedioha

I chose to come to Kenya because I have origins in West Africa, and I wanted to see how medicine, nursing and healthcare are practiced in the continent because I am interested in coming back and serving in this community. I enjoyed being in the labor ward the most during my time at KNH. I enjoyed seeing expectant mothers and babies - and how the mothers would undergo a painful yet worthwhile experience. I will take all the lessons I have learned and implement them on my patients daily. I am grateful to the students, nurses and doctors of KNH - they have taught me so much, whether it is medically related, Swahili or even about Kenya.

James  Ward

James Ward

I chose to come to Kenya for my practicum as I previously worked for a Global health non-profit and wanted an opportunity in my nursing journey to learn from a lower resource setting and its different dynamics. My most memorable experience has been comparing how we deliver healthcare in the U.S. and Kenya. Besides just having an experience at KNH, we visited a health post in western Kenya, in a village called Sirembe in Kisumu. Also, we had the opportunity to visit one of the largest mental health facilities. I have really been impressed by the resourcefulness of the staff in the three institutions I visited - their innovation, resilience and creativity is something I will take with me to the U.S.


Cheyenne Glasgow

Cheyenne Glasgow

When I learned about the global practicum program offered at Columbia Nursing School, I was excited about this opportunity. I needed to go to a site in Africa, as I had never been to Africa. Being a black woman living in America, I needed to learn from people who look like me, identify as I do, and share a similar culture. I have had a wonderful experience working in the labor and delivery unit. I adored working with the mothers who came to give birth as the mortality rate among black people in America is an epidemic, and supporting women here to bring life has been emotional and rewarding. I am a social worker at heart, and this experience has reminded me why I chose nursing as my career; the opportunity to interact with people who pride themselves on skills - of loving people, putting patients first and supporting them, will be my take home.