Announcement Archive

Innovative training program for Vietnamese nurses

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

story from Tokyo Development Learning Center

An innovative training-of- trainers (TOT) program to support nurse education in Vietnam was developed by Tokyo Development Learning Center (TDLC) in collaboration with AHP Network, and Vietnam Development Information Center (VDIC)

The program aims to improve nurse education and training system, thereby enhancing the capacity of the overall healthcare workforce in Vietnam. Although nurse education in medical universities and colleges provide training on fundamental knowledge and skills in key clinical specializations, some subjects are addressed only partially. There is a need to develop specialist knowledge and practical skills required by nursing teachers in training students and nurses in providing daily treatment to patients. The fields to be covered under this training course include Mental Health, Elderly Care and Home-based Nursing.


The first course in the series, Introduction to Psychiatric and Mental Nursing TOT, was organized as a pilot course from October to December 2011 in collaboration with AHP Network, VDIC, Satsukidai Hospital and Chiba University. The course contents were developed by experts from Chiba University and Satsukidai Hospital in Japan with close consultation with Vietnamese collaborators. It is a two month course consisting of 10 modules. Participants from Hanoi and Danag took part in 10 self-study video lectures, 3 video-conference sessions with Japanese professors and practitioners and 3 workshops facilitated by Vietnamese facilitators. They also participated in communications, discussion and sharing via the MOODLE platform (an online learning management system). 

The pilot course covered not only topic theory (i.e. the overall process from assessment to treatments in mental health) but also shared practical skills in which the role of nursing in patient care was clearly presented. Specifically, participants in both Hanoi and Danang learned a range of practical skills to deal with difficult situations. Some examples are: skills to involve patients in conversation so that they could feel ‘safe’, learning from observing the body language of patients while doing assessments and asking questions to obtain necessary information from a patient about their condition.

Course effectiveness

The course was delivered successfully and evaluated by participants as both effective and useful. Participants reported that they were satisfied with the new knowledge and skills that they learned from the professors, they also rated the interactions with the fellow students in the peer learning environment highly. Moreover, as a result of the course, students had at their disposal some ready and specific tools which could be quickly adopted when they returned to their work. The tools which were rated as the most useful included; stress management exercises for the nurses working in mental health, assessment tools with checklists and questionnaires and communication skills with patients and patient’s families. 

After the training was complete, most participants expressed their appreciation for the course, their gratitude for gaining skills to help ease their patients’ painful and difficult experience in hospital and their motivation and eagerness to apply the new skills into their work as nurse trainers. One important outcome as part of the course was the production of activity plans which ranged from cascading materials and sharing knowledge with colleagues and students, continuing to learn about mental health topics, applying tools into daily practice, to raise awareness in the community on mental health and how to treat patients with respect. Some students also started designing creative rehabilitation plans for their patients which included physical exercises as well as art methods including singing and drawing.

Effective use of ICT

Another dimension to evaluate participants’ learning was the effective use of technology in the course’s design. Since most of the participants were accustomed to learning in large class room environments or by ‘on-the-job’ training methods, the use of Internet and videoconference tools was unfamiliar and strange to them. To address this, the course was designed in a way that balanced self-learning and learning in a group. Various diagrams and pictures were used in the interactive presentations; and all training contents were embedded into lecture videos. Importantly, each module was designed in a sequence so that participants would firstly read/study and review through reflective questions, and then join in online discussions and finally participate in workshops with the whole class. 

During the training, participants took part mostly in synchronistic and group-based activities such as videoconferencing lectures and local workshops. Less engagement was in self-study, online sharing and communication activities - in other words: the activities that required ICT equipment at personal ends. Throughout the training, the support group held their breath and closely followed each step of the course’s progress. Help was extended to participants with a low Internet connection; audio clips of the lectures were extracted from videos and posted online so that the students could download them to their mobile phone and follow the lectures using power-point slide files in their computer or in printed copies, without internet connection. 

TDLC plans to deliver the second delivery of Introduction to Psychiatric and Mental Nursing TOT in late summer, as well as to develop and deliver an Elderly Care TOT course in Fall 2012.