Turning Learning Into Impact: Part 1

Clelia Anna ManninoBlog, Medicine, Nursing

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
— Benjamin Franklin

Closing the health workforce gap, so that local leaders and local professionals can meet local need, is not a short-term commitment. But improvements in the long-term necessitate reflection and data-based adjustments in strategy and implementation. Any effort to create lasting change must not only celebrate “progress” framed broadly, but also effectively measure improvement, evaluate impact, and learn – from both success and failure – so as to continuously improve upon its approach.

And we take our commitment to continuous learning and improvement within our work seriously.

Since 2013, Seed Global Health has partnered with the US Peace Corps and the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to deploy volunteer nurses and physicians to teach and train medical and nursing students as part of a unique collaboration – the Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP). Since its start, GHSP Physician and Nurse Educators have trained more than 13,000 students, post-graduates and hospital staff and helped reduce the critical shortage of skilled health care professionals so that the most vulnerable people have increased access quality health care services.

To get a more comprehensive look at the impact that GHSP has had in our partner countries, our Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team recently engaged and its in-country research teams to conduct a learning exercise that explored the outcomes of our work in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. Capturing the voices of students, faculty members, and clinical staff at partner sites, through focus groups and individual interviews, the team formed a robust understanding of program outcomes.

The learning exercise uncovered that methods and practices such as use of the skills lab to demonstrate and practice clinical skills, increasing access to training, clinical equipment, and supervision of clinical skills, and more interactive and student-centered teaching, made the learning environment more supportive for students and strengthened clinical practice. Overall, data from the learning exercise found that GHSP plays an important role in enriching the learning experiences of students.

A strong learning experience for students means that more trainees are getting the quality education that they need to become future leaders in health care, helping to improve health care delivery so that more men, women and children can lead healthier lives.

This blog is the first in a series by Seed Global Health’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning team focused on the ways that we look to incorporate rigorous evaluation into future learning and our impact strategy. Stay tuned for the next in the series!