Global HOPE Nursing ECHO Seminar addresses COVID-19 impact on nurses

Using the Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) tele-mentoring platform for hosting global seminars, Texas Children’s Global HOPE Nursing Program recently held their monthly virtual seminar that addressed the COVID-19 global pandemic and its impact on nurses.

On October 8, 55 nurses and other health care professionals from around the world attended the seminar, including participants from seven Sub-Saharan African countries. Lisa Morrisey and Courtney Sullivan from the International Society for Pediatric Oncology and Megan Lurvey from Boston Children’s Hospital were guest speakers at this month’s Global HOPE Nursing ECHO seminar on COVID-19. They provided insightful presentations on the COVID-19 pandemic and shared the importance of self-care and how nurses can protect themselves during COVID-19 and create a safer environment for patient care.

“COVID-19 continues to be a global health concern for many health care workers including our nursing colleagues who care for patients with pediatric cancer and blood disorders throughout our Global HOPE Centers of Excellence in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Global HOPE Director of Nursing Education Dr. Marilyn Hockenberry. “While Africa doesn’t have the number of COVID cases that we have here in the U.S, providing educational resources is crucial to protecting our nurses, their patients and each other.”

“One of the many takeaways from this seminar for me was learning how to emotionally support myself and others during these stressful COVID-19 times,” said Aisha Nedege, a Global HOPE nurse educator in Uganda. “With the knowledge attained from this seminar, I will be able to put into practice what I learned in order to ensure my colleagues, patients and myself are working within an environment that is safe for all of us.”

Despite being continents apart, Joy Hesselgrave said listening to the various perspectives of her nursing colleagues in Africa made her realize the common issues we share – like how to stay safe and not spread COVID-19 to our families, remaining hopeful for suffering patients in our care, and continuing to take care of ourselves and our colleagues when the normal ways that we use for support are not always possible.

“The ECHO conferences in general are a unique way to learn from and share Hematology Oncology nursing care with our colleagues in Africa,” said Hesselgrave, Assistant Clinical Director of Palliative Care at Texas Children’s. “Our colleagues in Africa are doing an excellent job, and the benefits of these educational offerings have positively impacted countless patients and families in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Click here to watch a recording of the COVID-19 Global HOPE Nursing ECHO seminar.

Global HOPE Nursing ECHO seminars

The COVID-19 seminar is one of many virtual Global HOPE Nursing ECHO seminars that occur every month via Zoom. Organized around essential pediatric oncology nursing care issues, these case-based seminars provide an education platform for oncology nurses caring for children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is an innovative telementoring program designed to create virtual communities of learners by bringing together health care providers and subject matter experts using videoconference technology, brief lecture presentations and case-based learning.

Using the ECHO model, topics and case-studies for these seminars are organized by early career Global HOPE nurses. Each seminar begins with a case study followed by a short presentation by a pediatric oncology nursing specialist. Each seminar includes ample time for case study questions and discussions and at the end of the seminar, participants are asked to complete a short survey to evaluate the program.

“A key focus of the Global HOPE Nursing ECHO seminars is to build a knowledge network to increase capacity of pediatric oncology and provide vast opportunities for nurses in Sub-Saharan Africa to gain experience in leadership and education using an international learning platform,” said Hockenberry. “Formal education programs that build the capacity of specialists in pediatric oncology nursing are essential to improve global cure rates for children with cancer in low- and middle-income countries.”

Since ECHO seminars began a year ago, Global HOPE Nursing has hosted 12 seminars, and with each seminar, the attendance and number of countries participating have grown significantly. During the first two months of implementation, nurses attended from Botswana, Malawi and Uganda where Texas Children’s Global HOPE Centers of Excellence are located. Within 10 months, 321 participants from 12 countries attended an ECHO seminar with an average of 32 people participating in each seminar.

“We’ve had nurse faculty from several schools of nursing also attend the seminars and invite students to participate as well,” said Jennifer Higgins, senior coordinator for Global HOPE Nursing. “Participants say they feel more confident in providing childhood cancer nursing care after the Project ECHO seminar and evaluations have demonstrated that a case-based approach to learning has been extremely beneficial.”

Global HOPE Nursing ECHO seminars occur on the 2nd Thursday of every month at 8 a.m. Central Time via Zoom. For more information, contact Jennifer Higgins at