For the last few years, I’ve spent a few weeks in June in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, South Africa with a team of American students helping the University of Venda (UNIVEN) School of Health Sciences and the District Health office to integrate MI skills into health care.
As in the U.S., chronic health conditions are highly prevalent in South Africa, and are typically managed in nurse-led clinics and by local community health workers.
Last year, I was fortunate to lead a team of 6 UVA and 6 UNIVEN students as we conducted MI training for community health workers in two clinics, then observed them in the field as they tried to integrate MI skills into their work with patients.
This year, I took a UVA medical student, future Dr. Susan Gutierrez, and worked again with the 6 UNIVEN nursing students (Hope Skolo, Zandie Sibeko, Marshall Ndou, Tshilidzi Nema Rola, Awelani Matidza, and Mphonyane Makhumisane) and beloved colleague Mary Maluleke to implement 5 days of MI training, with pre and post standardized patient interactions, to help nursing students and professional nurses to learn MI skills.
At the end of the first day of training, one of the professional nurses emphatically stated: “We should have had this training 20 years ago! All nurses should learn MI!”
Job well done, my beloved team.