Thanks to a partnership between Chile and UM, the South American country has its first group of nurse practitioners.
Economic Backbone: Nursing
University of Miami partners with Chile to establish first official nurse practitioner program
Nurse practitioner was a foreign role in Chile — until a plea for help from the Chilean government. A rising number of cancer cases in that country sparked a collaboration between the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Sciences and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Chile’s first official nurse practitioner program is a result of years of partnership with the UM nursing school and is designated as a nursing collaborating center by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization.
Now, with the help of UM and other institutions across the nation, 14 oncology nurses in Chile are becoming South America’s first NPs, a type of advanced registered nurse. And with more help from UM clinical faculty member Juan González, those 14 Chilean nurses are now ready to tackle the health care crisis that continues to plague their country and others.
Born in Cuba, González, a veteran educator and longtime Miami nurse practitioner, immigrated to the United States when he was 13. He became interested in nursing after meeting his now father-in-law, a pediatric nurse at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, when he was in high school.
At 20, González became a registered nurse and launched his career, going on to earn a bachelor’s degree and then a doctorate in nursing. Now a full-time faculty member at the University of Miami, González is working on obtaining a research-focused Ph.D. to continue inspiring the next generation of nurses and NPs.
“The students coming into the program were experts in the field of nursing, specifically oncology,” says González. “For the Chilean students, it was very empowering for them to see what nurses are capable of doing in other places of the world.”
For 16 weeks, González taught in-depth advanced pathophysiology. The challenge? His lectures, most of them conducted via Zoom, were all in Spanish.
“Although I am a native Spanish-speaker, everything I know in the medical field, I learned in English,” says González. “The content is the same, but what changes is the terminology, so I had to review the textbook in English first, then go back and review everything in Spanish to prepare the lecture and deliver the content in a way that was fluent.
“Because of this program, hospitals, organizations and patients will have access to more care and more support during their diagnosis and treatment processes,” says González. “They not only have an RN, but an advanced individual with knowledge that can support the level of care that is usually handled by a physician or doctor.”