Baylor Nursing Professor Awarded Prestigious Fulbright Grant to Research Nursing Education, Simulation Training in India

February 22, 2016

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DALLAS, Texas (Feb. 22, 2016) – What began as a mission trip has become an internationally recognized honor for Shelby Garner, Ph.D., assistant professor at Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON).

This month, Garner learned she was a recipient of a Fulbright-Nehru Research Grant from the U.S. India Educational Foundation. The grant will provide her the opportunity to research the impact of simulation education in nursing curricula in Bengaluru, India.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 2.4 million nurses are needed to fill the nursing workforce gap in India. The demand for those nurses is often met by employing ill-qualified nurses, leading to poor care. Countries with the highest health care shortages have been proven to have the poorest health outcomes and the highest number of maternal and infant deaths.

“In February, I was overjoyed to receive a letter notifying me that I was awarded a Fulbright-Nehru Research Grant. The Fulbright grant will provide travel, a salary stipend and other resources needed to conduct this research,” Garner said. “As a Fulbright research scholar, I plan to work collaboratively with my faculty colleagues in Bengaluru to evaluate the impact of simulation use in Bachelor of Science in Nursing and General Nurse Midwife programs in India.”

The Fulbright-Nehru program aims to provide U.S. faculty, researchers and professionals an opportunity to teach and/or conduct research in partnership with an Indian host institution. William Fulbright’s goal was to develop international understanding through open communication and long-term cooperative relationships.

For the Fulbright, Garner plans to go to Bengaluru for two to three months in the summer of 2017 and again for two to three months in the spring of 2018, working in the interim through Skype and short-term trips, beginning in April, to coordinate her research efforts and pilot some of the tools she intends to employ in her research.
Specifically, Garner plans to:

• Assess the effectiveness of a simulation training intervention to increase self-efficacy in teaching for nursing faculty
• Assess the effectiveness of participation in a simulation scenario to increase self-efficacy in nursing competency performance for student nurses
• Determine if a relationship exists between nursing student self-efficacy in nursing competency performance and nursing faculty observed competency performance

“We are so proud of Shelby’s J. William Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award and her work in India with her USAID/ASHA grant for the new Simulation Education and Research Center for Nursing Excellence in Bengaluru, India,” said Shelley Conroy, Ed.D., professor and dean of the School of Nursing. “She has embraced the mission of the LHSON and Baylor University to serve both God and the world through educational excellence, built upon the Christian faith. She definitely exemplifies our LHSON motto: Learn. Lead. Serve.”

Garner was drawn to Baylor in 2011 because the university provided the opportunity to take part in Christian global endeavors. After her first year teaching at Baylor, she traveled with a group from LHSON to Bengaluru for the first time. Their goal was to coordinate and present a workshop for the nursing faculty at the Rebekah Ann Naylor School of Nursing (RANSON) in India.

“During this trip, I listened as Ms. Leena Raj, RANSON’s principal, shared the unique challenges faced by nurses and nursing faculty in India,” Garner said. “Due to complex religious and cultural factors, nursing is not perceived as a respectable profession in India. As we wrapped up the workshop and I returned to the United States, I felt called to establish ongoing partnerships with my colleagues in India to address some of these challenges.”

RANSON, owned by Bangalore Baptist Hospital (BBH), is a faith-based nursing school founded by Baylor alumna Rebekah Ann Naylor, B.A. (Chemistry and Pre-Medical) ’64. Naylor earned her M.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and has served as a missionary surgeon in India for 35 years.

Following her trip to India, Garner led two research studies with colleagues from LHSON and RANSON, exploring the challenges and brainstorming strategies to improve the nursing shortage in India.

“Through this research we discovered nurses in India have a desire for increased opportunities for continuing education and empowerment to use health care technology,” Garner said. “Nurses in India aspire to be respected and deserve opportunities to emerge as leaders in the health care industry.”

Garner noted that nurses also expressed a desire for a safe living space close to their work environments because of the dangers of traveling home after dark.

In 2015, Garner worked with Raj and Naveen Thomas, Ph.D., CEO of BBH, to write a grant to provide for the needs of the BBH nursing community. In December of last year, they were granted more than $650,000 by the U.S. Agency for International Development American Schools and Hospitals Abroad Division. The grant will allow Baylor to partner with BBH to build a four-story Simulation Education and Research Centre for Nursing Excellence in Bengaluru.

The simulation center will provide simulation-based learning experiences, allowing nurses and nursing students to practice and perfect clinical skills for patient care. The center has room for up to 48 nurses to live on the premises.

In January, a team of Baylor LHSON faculty and students participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the facility in India. Their next step is hands-on research. Garner’s quarterly travel to India leading up to her lengthened stay will allow her to monitor progress on the construction of the facility.

The Fulbright program is internationally acclaimed, with an aim to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” It is considered the flagship international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

“As a Fulbright grantee, I will join the ranks of distinguished participants in the program. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists and teachers,” Garner said.

Since its inception in 1946, more than 360,000 Fulbright grants have been awarded. More than 50 recipients have been awarded Nobel Prizes.

“I am extremely grateful to all of the administration, faculty, staff, students and alumni at Baylor and LHSON for supporting these initiatives to India,” Garner said. “I feel blessed to serve at Baylor University, a university that is committed to and supports the integration of Christian faith with intellectual life.”

by Bethany Harper, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

The Baylor Louise Herrington School of Nursing was established in 1909 as a diploma program within Baylor Hospital in Dallas, which is now Baylor University Medical Center, and in 1950 became one of the six degree-granting schools of Baylor University. The first Bachelor of Science in nursing degrees were awarded in 1954, establishing the school as one of the oldest baccalaureate nursing programs in the United States. In 1999, the School was renamed the Louise Herrington School of Nursing after Louise Herrington Ornelas, a 1992 Baylor Alumna Honoris Causa, made a $13 million endowment gift to the school. The School of Nursing offers a bachelor of science in nursing degree and a master of science in nursing degrees in advanced neonatal nursing, nursing administration and management, and family nurse practitioner programs, which are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The School also offers a nurse midwifery doctorate in nursing practice.