In September, 2016, a group of ten nursing executives, all members of the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), set out on a delegation to Israel to engage in one-on-one dialogue with international counterparts. The group was led by the 2016 AONE Board President, Dr. Joan Clark, a highly respected contributor to the field of nursing. Dr. Clark is also a member of the Texas Health Resources leadership team where she assumes overall responsibility for the nursing enterprise across the Texas Health Resources System. Texas Health has 25 acute-care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with the system. It has more than 3,800 licensed beds, more than 21,000 employees of fully-owned/operated facilities plus 1,400 employees of consolidated joint ventures, and counts more than 5,500 physicians with active staff privileges at its hospitals. In her system role, Dr. Clark has responsibility for advancing strategic nursing initiatives and represents nursing at the senior executive level.
The main focuses of the delegation were as follows:
- Learn about the role of nursing and nursing leadership in Israel through dialogue with nurse executives and leaders.
- Meet with faculty to learn about nursing education in Israel.
- Explore the role of nursing leadership in the delivery of care across the continuum, including both hospital and ambulatory care settings.
- Examine the role of nursing in behavioral health in Israel and learn how behavioral health is organized and integrated into primary care.
- Meet with first responders to learn about the country’s emergency response system for hospitals.
To accomplish the goals listed above, US delegates participated in exchanges with a variety of Israeli nursing institutions. The delegation began with a visit to the Ziva Tal Academic Nursing School at Sheba Medical Center and met with the Director to learn about the various teaching programs, how the school implements learning activities, and to discuss the philosophy of the school and its’ current challenges. Additional hospitals visited include the Assuta Hospital to meet with the Head of the Medical Division, the Geha Mental Health Center to study traditional and alternative methods for the treatment of mental diseases, the Al-Makassed Islamic Charitable Hospital, the Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital, the Nursing Clinical Research Center to hear about the integration of education, clinical, and research nursing, and the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital to meet with the Senior Nurse and bone marrow transplant coordinator. The highlight of hospital visits, for most delegates, was visiting the ER and Trauma units of the Rambam Medical Center. The Rambam is famous for its ability to go fully underground in an emergency situation. Delegates started with an overview of the campus, followed by a tour of the Teaching Center for Trauma Emergency and MCS, a Q & A session, and tours of the Shock Room, Critical Isolation Units and the Sammy Ofer Fortified Underground Emergency Hospital.
In addition to meeting with Israeli counterparts, visiting hospitals and training centers, and participating in Q & A sessions, the AONE professionals had the opportunity to experience the culture and ancient beauty of Israel. Delegates and their guests were taken back in time with a visit to Caesarea, an excavated Roman Theater previously used for performances throughout the centuries, built by Herod the Great. They were welcomed with Druze hospitality by members of the Druze village of Isfiya. Along the way, they also viewed landmarks such as the magnificent Bahai Gardens, the Church of Annunciation and Mary’s Well, completed a variety of city tours, and enjoyed wide displays of Israeli cuisine.
After having the opportunity to study and travel in Israel, professionals said “interaction with fellow nurse colleagues in Israel was life changing” and “meeting with the various Israeli and Palestinian healthcare providers with the AONE team was the most valuable aspect of this trip”. Professionals Abroad is looking forward to having the American Organization of Nurse Executives participate in future professional delegations.