Diploma in Tropical Nursing – Preparing nurses and midwives to work in low and middle income countries. 

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) supports nurses and midwives in their development through the innovative Diploma in Tropical Nursing (DTN) by preparing them to work in low-income settings and make significant contributions to world health.

This biannual flagship course has been running since 2011 and attracts nurses and midwives from all over the world. It is the course of choice by leading non-governmental organisation  employers such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).  

Our course is designed to prepare nurses and midwives to work knowledgeably and confidently in demanding settings. By participating in a thought-provoking pre-course module, the students hit the ground running from their first day at LSTM. Hot topics delivered by world leading experts range from the serious impact of climate change on global health, implementing LSTM clinical research on malaria, to the impact of sexual abuse, mental health and gender inequality on vulnerable populations. 

The vision of the 2020 International Year of the Nurse and Midwife campaign of ‘highlighting what nursing is in the modern era, and how nurses can light the way to universal health coverage and healthcare for all’, aligns seamlessly with the DTN aims and learning outcomes. There is a special emphasis on leadership in nursing with the Nightingale Challenge, which aims to contribute to the development of the next generation of young nurses and midwives as leaders, practitioners and advocates in health. Leadership is a key skill required by employing NGOs and other humanitarian agencies. At LSTM, we will be launching our own local DTN Nursing Now group later this year. 

A new element to the 2019/20 DTN teaching curriculum is a challenging session designed to simulate the real-life experience of working as a nurse in a conflict setting. The many demands of informed, yet quick decision making, being in a resource-limited environment and working in different cultural and social contexts, while still applying leadership skills, will all be addressed. This session was developed in response to feedback from previous students who commented that working as a health worker in low and middle income countries (LMICs) can be stressful, so it is crucial to be as prepared as possible. On the course, there are many opportunities for the students to learn from each other, to discover how to teach effectively in LMIC settings, to value the importance of actively listening and of course to celebrate their knowledge of tropical pathogens! 

The feedback from students is overwhelmingly positive and many participants have said it was a watershed experience for them:

I completed my first six-month mission with MSF in the Bentiu project in South Sudan, working as the manager of the outreach team. It was peak malaria season during my mission, so I was quickly able to put the knowledge and skills that I gained at LSTM into practice. It is with no small amount of pride when I tell people that our small outreach team of 28 screened over 10,000 people for malaria and treated over 7600 cases.  It is one thing to listen in a lecture hall about malaria and severe malnutrition, and a wholly different can of worms to see the devastating effect from both, and to manage them from a resource-poor perspective.” (Gloria, Canada)

LSTM’s vision to save lives in resource poor countries through research, education and capacity strengthening, inspires every student that attends the DTN. As nurses and midwives, we value this unique opportunity to thoroughly enjoy learning, be deeply challenged, laugh together and to celebrate our positive contribution to global health initiatives that make a difference.

Some of this research and capacity-strengthening at LSTM is conducted by its Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health (CMNH). Experts within CMNH have developed competency-based workshop packages to increase the capacity of nurses and midwives working in low- and middle-income countries to deliver quality, holistic maternal and newborn health care. Following each workshop, selected participants are trained as Master Trainers, who cascade the training to their colleagues, ensuring sustainability and encouraging leadership. Our aim is that there is a mutually beneficial sharing of knowledge between healthcare professionals. 

You can read more about CMNH’s research and capacity-strengthening here: https://cmnh.lstmed.ac.uk/