GPRC Nursing Students on amazing journey in Ghana

Some of our Nursing students are having an amazing experience in Ghana in their final year of our collaborative degree program with the University of Alberta.

Christy Wuthrich, Jocelyn Wright and Nicole O’Flaherty are part of a group students who, along with instructor Corinne Rogers, who are sharing their experiences with photos and words with their fellow students.

Ghana Experience

We began this journey thinking about sacred stories that celebrate a sense of self, and the world which Crites (1971) explains are narrative in form. These sacred stories, Crites (1971)  states, lie too deep in the consciousness to be directly told, but are lived out as experience known as mundane stories. It is here that we began to acknowledge how our own mundane stories that guide us to make sense also clarify our own sense of the conscious world (Crites, 2007).  It is in here  that the stories we live by extend to mis-readings of the lives of others leading to moral thoughtlessness but when we allow the stories of others to work on us or get under our skin we are awakened to a moral call.  Thus, started our journey alongside mundane stories.

Crites, S. (1971). The narrative quality of experience. Journal of the American Academy   of         Religion, (39)3 291-311.

– Corinne Rogers


This picture is from the morning of our first clinical day while we hiked to a neighbouring village to do immunizations. My nerves were high as we set out, since I didn’t know what to expect in a culture and community so different from my own back in Canada. Yet on we went that morning, hiking into the unknown and out of our comfort zones.

That’s what it has felt like for our time here this far. Each day we are taking steps physically and emotionally towards being pushed to experience and learn. This growth isn’t always a comfortable feeling, as it makes me question myself as well as challenges me to look at the world through a new set of lenses. However, the local people here are so welcoming and kind, that they are making this transition an easier one. Plus, I couldn’t ask for a better team of Canadian nurses to share this experience with.

So even though at this moment I feel personally shaken, challenged  and unsure of so much, I’m excited to continue on this journey and the “hike” we are on, not only to learn about who I am as an individual but also who I am as a global citizen.

– Christy Wuthrich


Where to begin. I chose an image of me walking down a path to symbolize the new way of living I have discovered in Ghana.

When they say you’re traveling to find yourself, you don’t really know what they’re talking about until you experience it for yourself. We are a third of the way through our visit here and I feel I have experienced more uncomfortable, boundary-breaking things than I even knew I had.

I’ve been pushed mentally to accept the new and unknown, into the uncomfortable areas where you feel lost and need guidance. But despite all that, I am on the right path to discovering who I am at heart, the nurse I was called to be, and the human being that can look beyond their own borders and truly become a global citizen.

– Elizabeth Parry


The picture I have chosen is both a literal and metaphorical analogy for my experience so far. The culture in Ghana is fully immersed in, it is everywhere, from their traditional clothing to the red dirt, and even to the colour of their skin. As a Caucasian female, I notice my own colour in contrast to those around me, and how this makes me feel as a minority in this country, different.

I notice the admiration I have sometimes been given for the fairness of my skin and the blue of my eyes. An admiration I have done nothing to deserve. Young Ghanaian woman have told me “you are so beautiful; your skin is so beautiful.” I am quick to point out that their skin is beautiful to me, that brown eyes are my favourite eye colour, and that I love their hair.

I have never been so acutely aware of colour in my life, it is all around me and surrounds me.

-Laryssa Ubels


Ghana has been incomparable to anything I’ve experienced. Arriving to Ghana was full of excitement with diving into the unknown.

Trying new foods such as sugar cane, cocoa seed and plantain all entailed part of experiencing a new way of living. However, the unknown has also brought new emotions never felt before. Self-discovery, colonialism and privilege have all been brought to light by this uncharted territory.

I have decided to explore these emotions hand in hand with the impact they hold on my nursing practice. I continually explore the question of how these feelings can be understood within myself and with patients whom might be placed in similar vulnerable positions.

Preceptoring in Ghana has fostered a safe environment for emotional growth alongside eleven amazing peers, one mentor and the unparalleled Ghanaian people. A few short weeks has only allowed me to scratch the surface on the wonders of the unknown and what is to come.

– Danika Forester


Before arriving in Ghana, we were told a story about two individuals who formed a connection with one another despite not speaking the same language. I never truly understood how that was possible until I met the incredible children of Apemanim.

One afternoon we sat outside and played various card games with each other. Only two out of the group of children understood more than a few English words and I could only say a few sentences in Twi, yet for hours we sat together and socialized. We took the time to share our stories using hand gestures and charades, communicating with one another even though we didn’t even speak the same language. We exchanged expressions of confusion at first, followed by acceptance and joy.

My experience in Ghana thus far has taught me to appreciate the connection two individuals can have between each other. Even though we may not speak the same language, come from the same cultural backgrounds, or share the same beliefs, we’re all human.

– Emma


This experience thus far has taught me many things, including a unique and interesting culture as well as qualities I never knew about myself. It has pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and embrace feeling a little out of place.

For example, getting up to dance to Palm Wine music in front of a crowd, jumping on a tro-tro to catch a boat ride up Volta river or weighing babies on a scale hanging from a tree. The picture above is a highlight so far being in Ghana. It is a classroom we visited in Apemanim village full of brilliant and eager students. The visuals and tools around the classroom gave me an idea of what their activities were like and what a day at school looked like for the kids.

Almost a month has gone by, and it has felt like it has whipped right past. I am amazed at how much I have learned so far but even more amazed at how much more I need to learn.

– Shea Johnson

A picture that encapsulates my journey in Ghana thus far is this one. A picture that tells a story of curiosity, wonder, and acceptance. This picture was taken at the village of Apemanim and I chose this picture because it shows the curiosity that I have had and continue to have through this whole experience.

It shows the wonder of this world that I am in awe of, every day. It shows the acceptance that has been shown to us during our time here. Although we are only one third of the way through this experience, I have learned so much about myself, this beautiful culture and the people surrounding it.

I have cried, laughed, bonded, been pushed out of my comfort zone and created wonderful memories with the 12 other women on this journey. I have learned things about myself that I never knew were possible and I will be forever grateful for that. I will continue to be curious, wonder, and accept what the next portion of this crazy adventure has in store for me.

– Jessica Llewellyn



My home within a home just like the home I used to know

I think I found a home just like the one I used to know,

The kind that made my skin glow,

Although it’s not quite like the one I used to know,

I think I found a home just like the one I used to know.


I think I found a home just like the one I used to know,

The kind where every pebble is used to dribble,

Although it’s not quite like the one I used to know,

I think I found a home just like the one I used to know.


I think I found a home just like the one I used to know,

The kind where a “hiss” can be a kiss or a fist,

Although it’s not quite like the one I used to know,

I think I found a home just like the one I used to know.


I think I found a home,

The kind I have always known,

Although it’s not quite like the one I used to know,

I think I found a home just like the one I used to know.


I think I found another home,

Another home in between the Maple Leaf and the rivers at Lokoja.

I think I found a home,

Although it’s not the one I used to know.

– Chioma Obuekwe


Coming to Ghana I had an idea in my head of what this trip was going to be like. As with every expectation, I was not correct. I have no idea what the rest of the trip is going to have in store for me but as of right now, I feel this trip was as if I am in a big ball at the top of a hill.

The first month of classes was the building of that ball, the new perspective of the world around me, now that those classes are done, the ball it built with me in it, I am rolling full spread down the hill, getting just a glimpse of the lived experience of Ghanaians. These moments pass by in the blink of an eye but I would never change one thing about this experience because this time is shaping who I am going to be the rest of my life.

Never in my life have I ever been so conscious of the colour of my skin and the effect that being from Canada would have. These are moments, no matter how brief, where people are just people. Not locals, not obouroni. Just people.

These moments are where the most valuable learning experiences have come. This hill that I am rolling down is not smooth and my stomach has been in knots since everything has started but I work through to untangle these knots into meaningful experiences. These uncomfortable way people look at foreign skin. The way Canadians are seen to have the answers to problems and the money to solve them. The way my skin alone gives the perception that I am privileged and maybe I am privileged but how can just skin tell such a story.

These feelings will continue to knot up my stomach, however, the good in these feelings is near in the future, somewhere here in Ghana.

-Nicole O’Flaherty


The past month in Ghana has been an amazing journey. I’ve learned how to be resilient while stepping out of my comfort zone. I’ve met so many amazing people who’ve invited me into their culture, through food, dance, and stories. This is a picture of a little girl who greets us with hugs at the market outside of the hostel. Although we don’t speak the same language, we communicate through touch and laughter. I’m so grateful and privileged to be finishing my final semester of nursing in Ghana and can’t wait for next couple of months.

– Jocelyn Wright

The paths in this photo represent a journey; they do not necessarily represent my African experience specifically, but they represent an adventure.  I had an idea what some of the experiences would be like, but there were also so many surprises these past few weeks.

For example, I had no idea Ghana, or Africa for that matter, would have ‘normal’ malls with MAC and Pandora stores inside them. I figured that most of Africa would look like this photo.

Ghana further amazed me with its many small towns or villages that are bustling with small businesses at the roadside. It additionally has some stunning architectural building styles I have never seen before, of which are painted with bright colours and are quite unconventional in shape.

These revelations may seem small and unremarkable, but they truly stunned me; my expectations of this foreign place were profoundly and delightedly exceeded. I have come to realize that a low/moderate-income country like Ghana is not as desolate as I had imagined.

Therefore, this picture represents more than just a sunset with a view of paths through a field. This picture represents part of my journey, in which I have already learned to consider the flip side of my assumptions and to keep in mind that everyone’s perspective is both unique and undetermined. This picture represents the paths I have taken in life to discover my beliefs and values. This picture represents the paths I will take to discover who I am and where I want to be. This picture represents what my sense of adventure says about me.

– Samantha Gourley

One month has passed and it feels like we have been here for years and also like we only just got here. After living here for a month, something that never fails to amaze me is the openness and genuineness of the people who I encounter everyday. No matter where we are, whether it be on campus, the market or the village Apemanim we are greeted with a “hello” even if we are merely walking by one another.

I think about back at home, if I were to ask “how are you?” to every person that I was to walk by, why is it considered strange? Here in Ghana I’ve learned to not be afraid to open up and strike up a conversation with a stranger who I’ve just met and it’s one of the best lesson I’ve ever learned.

The sacred stories and advice that have been shared with me are what will make this adventure so memorable. In this photo is Nana, a 125- year-old woman who we were so lucky to have met in Apemanim. Looking into her eyes we could tell she had so much wisdom and life experiences to share.

She told us to stay humble, do not discriminate and always love one another and even though we did not speak the same language, her words reached my soul and I will carry her words with me for the rest of my life. I am so grateful to have met people like Nana in the one month of being here.

I’ll continue to strike up conversations with strangers not only while being here, but also at home in Canada because you’ll never know where that conversation will lead you.

– Veronica Perea


There’s still time for current nursing students to have this experience next year. Contact the Global Nursing Office at the University of Alberta at 780-492-5667 by Feb 22.

Holmesglen Nurses Visit GPRC

Holmesglen Nurses Visit GPRC

Last May, GPRC Nursing Instructors Teresa Evans and Sheila Elliott were selected to head down under as part of a faculty exchange and research opportunity with Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

GPRC Nursing Instructors Teresa Evans and Sheila Elliott visited Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne, Australia in May 2017.

Check out their adventures here.

Recently, Holmesglen got to return the favour and join us in Grande Prairie for a visit.

Andree Gamble and Debra Kiegaldie from Holmesglen Nursing Department located in Melbourne, Australia arrived at GPRC earlier this month after a roughly 30-hour plane ride as part of an exchange program with the College. This trip was both of their first times to Canada.

Debra Kiegaldie (L) and Andree Gamble from Melbourne, Australia’s Holmesglen Institute.

With the expected completion of Grande Prairie’s new regional health and education centre in 2020, GPRC is building a partnership with Holmesglen Institute to share opportunities for research and education that comes from both institutions having hospitals on college-owned land.

On their agenda was getting to meet and discuss further opportunities with the College’s Executive team and Nursing Department along with getting to sit in on the some of the current accelerated Nursing courses happening over the summer at the College.

Gamble, an Undergraduate Coordinator at Holmesglen, discussed how much she enjoyed sitting in on one of GPRC’s classes.

“The cohort of students was outstanding and so welcoming of me,” said Gamble. “I think it would be good for our students to experience the smaller class sizes and likewise for the Grande Prairie students.”

Class sizes at GPRC are quite a bit smaller than those at Holmesglen, with a 56-student intake as opposed to Holmesglen’s approximately 600 students in two Nursing programs (a two-year Diploma program and a three-year Bachelor’s degree.)

A major goal of this budding partnership is to start an exchange program that would involve students and faculty.

“It would be good for our students and also the students in Grande Prairie to see how similar we are in terms of health care and access to health care,” said Gamble. “Our students live in a big city, so access to medical care of any description is really quite close. Here it is a different environment. This is a regional centre.”

Visiting the College’s On-Campus Friendship Centre.

Kiegaldie, an associate professor at Holmesglen Institute, said that would be great experience for their students.

“We talk to our students a lot about a global view on health. This would be an opportunity to expand their thinking and their understanding of what it means to work in another country,” she said.

The faculty from both institutions discussed the potential benefits of a faculty member accompanying the two or three students who would be partaking in the exchange to create a sense of comfort and continue to expand the sharing of knowledge.

“Faculty exchanges are beneficial because we can pick up on the little things that have been implemented successfully at GPRC and see if they would work for us and likewise,” said Kiegaldie.

At this early planning stage, discussions are around having students from Grande Prairie visit Holmesglen in April and students from Australia visit GPRC in October.

A tour of the College’s National Bee Diagnostics Centre.

Before Andree and Debra departed on their trip home, they for sure got the Alberta-tourist experience. The ladies toured Banff and Lake Louise and saw a bear, got a picture with the Big Beaver in Beaverlodge, viewed the expansion project at the National Bee Diagnostic Centre and—their favourite activity—got to ride in a chuckwagon!

“I’ve never experienced anything like that before,” said Gamble. “It was the ultimate experience!”

Debra and Andree experiencing a chuckwagon for the first time!

A huge thank you to Andree and Debra for joining us at GPRC. We look forward to welcoming you back on campus in the near future.

Until Next Time!

Until Next Time!

GPRC Nursing Instructors, Teresa Evans and Sheila Elliott’s epic adventure to Australia continues at Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

Teresa and Sheila were selected to head down under for the month of May as part of a faculty exchange and research opportunity. Both post-secondary institutions have strong relationships with their regional hospitals and are hoping to learn a thing or two from each other on how to continue to grow those relationships and student opportunities. Learn more about the opportunity here.

Let’s see what Teresa, Sheila and of course, GPRC Wolves mascot Farley were up to for the rest of this week.

During their journey Teresa and Sheila had the chance to visit Glenallen Specialist School, which focuses on helping children with physical disabilities and health impairments. The school had about 157 students and 117 staff from a variety of disciplines, including nursing and is one of the clinical sites where nursing students can get work experience.

They have all sorts of health professionals working together to provide holistic care: physical therapy, speech therapy, a nurse, music and art; learning how to cook. They have almost a 1:1 staff ratio which work with children from pre-school to vocational learning (VLC). This is a clinical placement for Holmesglen students.  A warm and welcoming place.

Holmesglen Instructor, Thili Chengodu has fun showing off the playground equipment at Glenallen Specialist School.

The next stop on the journey was to Epworth Healthcare, a private not for profit hospital where Holmesglen students can gain workplace experience. All profit made by this hospital goes back into the hospital, so as a result they have lots of great educational and patient focused technology.

Tess Vawser Director, Clinical Education and simulation at Epworth HealthCare took the ladies on a tour of the premises. In the bright room with the OR lights (surgical lights), they have simulation equipment worth over 1 million dollars.

The device breathes in oxygen, breathes out carbon dioxide and can be used by anesthetists to practice their skills.





The screens are in every patient room and is where the patient can watch TV, order room service at any time of the day or night. The patient can look at the goals for their care, review educational information about whatever they are in the hospital for, and see how they are progressing.

This knee is where surgeons can practice performing knee surgeries, and it’s very much like the real thing!

Students learn a great deal at this beautiful hospital, there is a library/learning space for students and groups to get together. There is lots of open space to move around, computers, books, and a librarian.


That brings us to the end of Teresa and Sheila’s Australian adventure. Special thanks to Holmesglen Private Hospital, Holmesglen Institute, Glenallen Specialist School and Epworth Healthcare for their hospitality and expertise.

Thanks again to Andree Gamble, Bob Ribbons and Gabrielle Koutoukidis, Dean, Faculty of Health Science, Youth & Community Studies, and everyone else being so welcoming and showing Teresa and Sheila around.

We look forward to being hosts for Holmesglen staff when they come to visit the GPRC later this fall.



Australia Adventures Continue!

Australia Adventures Continue!

Sheila and Teresa with Leone English, Executive Director; Education and Applied Research at Holmesglen Institute.

GPRC Nursing Instructors, Teresa Evans and Sheila Elliott’s epic adventure to Australia continues at Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

Teresa and Sheila were selected to head down under for the month of May as part of a faculty exchange and research opportunity. Both post-secondary institutions have strong relationships with their regional hospitals and are hoping to learn a thing or two from each other on how to continue to grow those relationships and student opportunities. Learn more about the opportunity here.

Along with their trusty side-kick Farley, GPRC Wolves mascot what tales can be told about their journey so far?

Teresa and Sheila had the opportunity to meet Leone English, Executive Director; Education and Applied Research at Holmesglen Institute. She helped to establish the current partnership between GPRC and Holmesglen Institute, allowing for this collaborative experience to take place.

Later the ladies got to participate in a Holmesglen “Research Rap”, which occurs three to four times per year. The Faculty of Health Science, Youth and Community Studies meet to discuss research ideas. They share research in progress and present what research they have already completed.

It’s a great place to share ideas and create connections with other departments, sharing information about upcoming scholarships and grant opportunities, as well as conferences they’re presenting at.

The nursing faculty that presented discussed their research called “The investigation of student experiences using game based response systems” such as Kahoot (which GPRC Nursing uses as a teaching strategy).

Kahoot allows smartphones to act as buttons for a custom multiple choice quiz (that you design). Compete against friends and family by earning the most points!



Holmesglen Instructor, Thili Chengodu (to the left) presented an idea about the “use of poetry in engaging students in reflection and readiness to practice”. The poetry the students presented was very powerful and showed a great deal about what they have learned about the nursing profession so far.


A lovely poem describing the art of nursing and its impact on the world around us.
Holmesglen Instructor, Thili Chengodu gives Farley a big hug.

While at Holmesglen Institute, students have the opportunity to take part in a simulation with standardized patients that were KIDS! These were 1st year nursing students, and both the kids and students had a blast!

The focus of the simulation labs was primarily communication and this experience gave them an opportunity to interact with children of different ages, to engage with them in play and gather information that might be helpful in a health assessment.

Students practiced with different age groups to see what some of the developmental differences might be.

The simulation apartments are composed of a sitting/viewing area, there is a place in the middle where the actual simulation takes place, and the control room at the back. The people in the simulation area cannot see or hear the people observing them, but microphones and cameras make it easy for the observers to hear and see what they’re doing.

The students watch the others, and after the simulation is complete, they all get together to debrief. To discuss what happened and what they can learn from the experience.


Definitely one of the cutest actors I’ve seen in a nursing lab and Farley agrees too!

Tune in next time to see what Teresa and Sheila got to witness on their trip down under.

GPRC’s Australian Adventure Continues

Greetings from Australia!

Sheila and Teresa with Keryn Hopkins, General Manager of Holmesglen Private Hospital, Penny Byers-Tymms, Director of Nursing, Petrina Adams, Deputy General Manager, Debra Kiegaldie, Clinical Chair -Health Workforce and Simulation for Holmesglen Institute and Healthscope Hospitals and Bob Ribbons, UGC Student Experience.

GPRC Nursing Instructors, Teresa Evans and Sheila Elliott had an awesome first week at Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

Teresa and Sheila were selected to head down under for the month of May as part of a faculty exchange and research opportunity. Both post-secondary institutions have strong relationships with their regional hospitals and are hoping to learn a thing or two from each other on how to continue to grow those relationships and student opportunities. Learn more about the opportunity here.

Let’s see what Teresa, Sheila and of course, GPRC Wolves mascot Farley were up to for the rest of this week.

They got to watch some OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) testing, which is super similar to work done in the nursing classrooms at GPRC. These labs test nursing skills to make sure students are ready for their clinical experience. Stations included: respiratory assessment, priming and IV line, IM (Intramuscular) injection, handover report, and a CPR station.

Holmesglen OSCE Instructor, Jasmine with Mich, a standardized patient. Holmesglen uses a lot of standardized patients in their simulations, labs, and OSCEs to help students get a more “real life” experience.
Farley making friends with the CPR dummy.

FUN FACT: These three students pictured below are showing the colors of Holmesglen. Well what does that mean you ask? Students in the Bachelor of Nursing program wear teal and students in the Diploma Nursing program wear grey.

Holmesglen Nursing students Elisha, Michelle and Corey showing off the different Holmesglen colours with Farley!

That’s not all, Teresa, Sheila and Farley got to hang out with a first year group of students in their lab covering reflexes, sensory physiology and the brain.

Holmesglen Instructor John teaching first year Nursing students in the science lab.
Students in their lab covering reflexes, sensory physiology and the brain.
Catherine drawing up an IM injection with Instructor Jasmine.
Sanjini giving a shift report to her Instructor Sarah as part of the OSCE.

What’s even more fun is that Teresa and Sheila got to celebrate National Nursing Week with all the wonderful staff at the Holmesglen Institute and Hospital.

Happy National Nurses Week!


Alright, that’s all for now. We can’t wait to see what Teresa, Sheila and Farley are up to next on their Australian adventure. If you missed the first part of their adventure, you can find it here!

Check back for more updates on what Teresa and Sheila are up to during their visit to the “land down under”!

Don’t worry! Farley is A-OK and can hardly wait for the next part of their adventure!