Deborah Lindell, DNP (NUR ’03), the Marvin E. and Ruth Durr Denekas Professor at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, follows one particular piece of advice in her life: “When you see a possible opportunity show up, take it. You never know what might happen.” It’s that mantra that led her to depart Cleveland in September for an eight-month sojourn to Northwest Kenya as a Fulbright Scholar.
Through her Fulbright research project, “Advancing Nursing Education in Northwest Kenya,” Lindell will work with Turkana University College (TUC) and the Turkana Basin Institute (TBI) to help them survey nurses about their interest in nursing, and to develop a nursing program curriculum that could develop into an RN to BSN program. She also will teach a public health nursing course.
The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, sponsored by the U.S. government since 1946, offers opportunities for U.S. academics, administrators and professionals to teach, research and complete professional projects and attend seminars abroad.
The institute, where Lindell will stay, is an international research facility conducting research and education in paleontology, archeology and geology. TUC is a constituent college of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology and the first public university established in Northwest Kenya.
In preparing her research proposal, Lindell gathered information on regional data pertaining to health concerns, workforce supply and differences between regions to justify the needs for the areas in which she’ll be working. Lindell noted she has been fortunate to work with these host institutions throughout her Fulbright application process, so the move to implementation of her project has been smooth.
“I had weekly Zoom meetings all last year with the Turkana Basin Institute, and email communication with people at the college,” she said. “I am very excited for this opportunity.”
International travel and teaching are familiar to Lindell, who has previously taught public health nursing to students in Asia.
“When I taught public health in Vietnam and China, I taught the universal concept—like what is epidemiology and what is a community assessment, but I let them shape it,” she said. “What I teach has to reflect their health systems.”
Through her travels as a nursing educator, Lindell said her experiences have helped her complete her understanding of how nursing is viewed and practiced in other countries.
“Nursing is in a different place in other countries. I’m learning just as much as they are,” she said. “My approach is to be respectful of where their needs are. My goal is to use my knowledge and skills to facilitate them to achieve their goals.”