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Daniela Händler-Schuster appointed as an adjunct professor at Victoria University of Wellington

As part of the collaboration between the ZHAW School of Health Professions and Victoria University of Wellington, Prof. Daniela Händler-Schuster from the Institute of Nursing has been appointed as an adjunct professor. The ZHAW lecturer is working to promote a sustainable and digital-based teaching and research collaboration with the aim of establishing a double or joint degree.

The ZHAW and Victoria University of Wellington signed a memorandum of understanding for a cooperation between the two educational institutions back in 2017. The Institute of Nursing and the Institute of Midwifery and Reproductive Health have now built on this agreement with the “Building a Global Bridge in Health Professions” (GlobalP) project. The Movetia-funded project is aiming to establish a collaboration in the fields of teaching and research.

Common teaching formats

In her new role as adjunct professor, ZHAW lecturer Daniela Händler-Schuster will work within this project to promote a sustainable and digital-based teaching and research collaboration that will make it possible to step up cooperation without the need to travel to another location. “Given the steadily growing global demand for health professionals with regionally fluctuating capacities, the international networking of health professionals represents one of the keys to success,” says Daniela Händler-Schuster.

The ZHAW School of Health Professions has been involved in the discipline of advanced practice nursing for more than ten years, and the midwifery profession is following suit. “To further strengthen this area, we want to promote internationalisation in the education space. In the project, we are therefore exploring how we could jointly develop teaching formats that may go so far as to allow us to offer a double or joint degree,” explains Händler-Schuster.

Learning from each other across international borders

The project aims to allow students and lecturers from Switzerland and New Zealand to learn from, with and about one another across international borders. The goal is to make education for students more attractive as they navigate their path towards advanced practice and thus to enable future health professionals to respond to global health challenges.

The collaboration with Victoria University of Wellington is also particularly interesting because midwifery practice in New Zealand has a long tradition with well-established midwife-led childbirth services. Furthermore, nurse practitioners in the Land of the Long White Cloud have been licensed for their own autonomous area of practice since 2001.

Finding a common language

“We are currently getting to know our different working methods and systems so that we can also find a common language,” explains Daniela Händler Schuster. What is more, students from the MSc in Nursing have already agreed to write their Master’s thesis as part of the collaboration. “We are also discussing the development of an online platform that will allow us to exchange ideas and information and learn from one another.”

For joint projects to succeed, however, personal exchanges are also needed from time to time. At the end of May, Professor Karen McBride Henry, Head of the Professional Doctorate at the School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Health Practice of Victoria University of Wellington, will therefore visit the ZHAW in Winterthur. “We are greatly looking forward to this valuable exchange,” says Daniela Händler-Schuster. Karen McBride Henry’s research focusses on marginalised groups and health equity and sees her apply innovative and person-/family-centred approaches. “With this, we are hoping to deepen our intercultural understanding of research with a view to international research collaborations.”