June 30, 2021

UCalgary in Qatar bolsters its teaching focus on evidence-based nursing outcomes

First institution in the Middle East to join a consortium of International Academic Best Practice Spotlight Organizations
BPSO Champions from University of Calgary in Qatar
Best Practice Spotlight Organization champions from University of Calgary in Qatar.

The University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ) has officially become the first institution in the Middle East to join a consortium of international Academic Best Practice Spotlight Organizations (AcBPSOs) co-ordinated by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO).

AcBPSOs use best practice guidelines (BPGs) to help nursing students learn about how to identify, assess, select, apply, and evaluate evidence in nursing. The deliberate integration of BPGs into all theoretical and practice-based courses at the University of Calgary in Qatar has been used to successfully prepare students to learn about how to make evidence-informed decisions for their nursing practice and achieve better patient outcomes.

The RNAO officially announced the designation of the University of Calgary at Qatar as an Academic BPSO during their recent annual general meeting opening ceremonies. UCQ is proud to celebrate this milestone and its future impact on the medical field in Qatar and the Middle East region as a whole.

Journey began in 2018

UCQ’s application journey was formally accepted in March 2018, making history as they became the first institution in the Middle East to start the journey as an AcBPSO candidate. After a three-year candidacy in which they achieved all the requirements for this prestigious designation, UCQ earned their well-deserved AcBPSO accreditation on June 24, 2021.

“Having UCQ join the consortium of International Academic Best Practice Spotlight Organizations is a privilege we do not take lightly,” said Dr. Deborah White, dean of UCQ. “We have worked tirelessly to integrate BPGs into our curriculum to earn this recognition.”

She continued, “In fact, UCQ faculty mentors used RNAO’s train-the-trainer learning approach to prepare a group of our undergraduate students to become BPSO champions to further support the uptake of BPGs and we have seen first-hand how effectively it has enhanced their clinical decision-making skills. I am extremely proud of our faculty and our BPSO champions whose hard work and commitment helped us accomplish this remarkable achievement.”

Impact of training approach on students

UCQ’s application of the RNAO’s hands-on training approach enhanced students’ confidence, leadership skills, and capacity to engage others in the uptake of best practices.

Over the three-year candidacy period, student BPSO champions co-facilitated workshops for other nursing students and faculty, engaged in innovative strategies to raise awareness among nurses and nursing students about BPGs, and strengthened academic-health service partnerships for the uptake of BPGs. They also established and scaled up a network of student BPSO champions, including international connections. The work of the student champions immensely contributed to the successful achievement of BPSO designate status for UCQ.

Dr. Doris Grinspun, CEO of the RNOA, said, “Congratulations to our newly designated BPSO’s, it is an absolute privilege to welcome you and recognize the heavy lifting you have done in the past three years of the program to receive your designations, this is especially commendable as you had to do it throughout the pandemic.”

Dr. Doris Grinspun, CEO of the RNOA congratulating newly designated BPSOs.

CEO Doris Grinspun congratulates newly designated BPSOs.

The partnership between UCQ and RNAO has enhanced nursing education and practices in Qatar in innumerable ways. Fostering strong partnerships with prestigious nursing associations has enriched UCQ’s services and educational offerings. The gold standard Canadian curriculum and program encourage students to become theoretical, conceptual, critical, and clinical thinkers.

Established in 2007, the University of Calgary in Qatar is the only Canadian university in Qatar and the country’s exclusive provider of bachelor degrees in nursing. Accredited in Canada and adapted to the local culture, the university’s curriculum provides its nursing students with the knowledge and expertise to become fully integrated leaders in Qatar’s health-care sector.