Christopher Herring, DNP '18; Brett Morgan, assistant professor; Julie Thompson, research associate/statistical consultant; and Jane Blood-Siegfried, professor; recently published an article entitled "Virtual Orientation of Volunteer Short-Term International Health Teams to Increase Self-Confidence and Cultural and Global Health Competence" in The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing. Co-authors include Sydney Brown, Dean, Gayle Bolt Price School of Graduate Studies, and professor, School of Education at Gardner-Webb University; and Anna Kullmar, graduate assistant, Center for Personal and Professional Development, Gardner-Webb University.
International health team volunteers frequently arrive at service sites with considerable lack of confidence and knowledge gaps because of poor preparation. Preservice orientation has been shown to improve knowledge, confidence, and competence, but current practices fall short of meeting most needs. This health care improvement project was aimed to improve self-confidence and cultural and global health competence using a virtual preservice orientation format. The virtual innovation significantly narrowed the difference in confidence between new and experienced team members. Significant increases were observed in knowledge of global health and health equities for new and experienced team members. Following the orientation, a significant difference in global health skills for the entire team also was observed. Many Americans leave the United States annually attempting to help those in need. This effort is hindered by poor preparation and unreal expectations. Improving health team member confidence and competence is one way to address this concern.