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September 4, 2012

Brewing Knowledge in Ethiopia

Traditional Coffee Ceremony in Ethiopia
Traditional Coffee Ceremony in Ethiopia

When Karla Wentzel thinks about her recent work in Ethiopia, it’s the fragrance of incense and coffee wafting up from a small charcoal burner that comes to mind.

“The coffee ceremony is beautiful and a large part of Ethiopian social and cultural life,” Wentzel says. “We were thrilled to be asked to attend a ceremony. It’s a mark of friendship and respect.”

The traditional ceremony was performed for Wentzel, Nurse Practitioner, and Pat Malloy, Nurse Educator, by students of the Ethiopia-SickKids Paediatric Nurse Practitioner Training Programme.

The two SickKids nurses, along with their colleague Judy Hawes, Nurse Practitioner, were part of a rotating team of teaching and project management staff on assignment in Addis Ababa in May 2012.  The project is delivered in partnership with the Masters of Nursing Program at Addis Ababa University (AAU).

Funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, the program is the first of its kind in Ethiopia. SickKids staff collaborated with AAU’s School of Nursing to develop a curriculum for nursing leaders in child health. AAU’s goal is to build leaders in paediatric nursing who will advance child health care and education across Ethiopia through specialized graduate  education.  

The curriculum taught by Wentzel and her SickKids colleagues focused on advanced clinical knowledge, as well as integrated leadership concepts and role development for advanced practice paediatric nurses. The 12 students currently enrolled in the program are lecturers at nursing schools across Ethiopia and were each specially selected for the training by the Ethiopian Ministry of Education. Their clinical experience ranges from health assistants and midwifes to nurses in rural health centres and urban hospitals.  

“It was a wonderful opportunity to teach and learn from our Ethiopian colleagues,” says Wentzel. “And because the students brought such a wealth of experience to the course, we were able to have incredibly informative discussions about nursing concepts and paediatric care.”

The first two specialty courses were delivered in May and July 2012.  The concluding specialty course will be delivered in September 2012.