Tassanee Tongprateep (left), Helen Taggart, and Watcharaporn Chewwattana.

Thai Nursing Educators Visit Savannah

(May 19, 2009) Two Thai nursing educators visiting Savannah for two weeks in May met with representatives from various community organizations, including St. Joseph's/Candler Health System, Memorial University Medical Center, and Hospice Savannah. The Department of Nursing at Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) hosted the nurses, who came seeking to establish partnerships and share knowledge with various organizations in the region.

Watcharaporn Chewwattana and Tassanee Tongprateep from the Kuakarun College of Nursing in Bangkok, Thailand also are consulting with AASU's Department of Nursing with a goal to develop a master's program in nursing with a focus on gerontology and palliative care at Kuakarun College.

"Both of these visiting educators have conducted extensive research in the areas of beginning and end of life issue in health care in Thailand," said Helen Taggart, AASU professor of nursing. "Their visit is an opportunity for us to learn from their expertise and to share with them some information that can help them in some aspects of the nursing education program at Kuakarun College."

Kuakarun College is an affiliate of the Bangkok Metropolitan University in Bangkok.

The visit represented an opportunity for Chewwattana and Tongprateep to look for ways to formalize education for workers at day care centers in Thailand. The current system for children ages 2-6 is not regulated and run by volunteers. Some of the concerns include lack of adequate supplies, limited knowledge of health education and illness prevention, and lack of structured activities for the children.

Chewwattana holds a Ph.D. in nursing from Chiang Mai University and is an instructor in the pediatric nursing department at Kuakarun College of Nursing. She was a visiting scholar in the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene at the University of Hawaii.

Tongprateep received her Doctor of Science degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham and currently is a nurse educator at Kuakarun College of Nursing. She has published two books, Nurse: Being with the Dying and Spirituality: A Dimension of Nursing.

The Thai educators also explored the possibility of establishing collaborative research programs and developing exchange programs for students and faculty members at Kuakarun College and AASU. One additional goal of the visit was to establish a program for international nursing education conferences to be held alternatively in Savannah and Bangkok.