“POLHN is a great and innovative way to meet health staff’s needs to upgrade skills and build their capacities.” – Sunshine Garcia, POLHN focal point for Palau
Sunshine Garcia is a medical librarian at Belau National Hospital in Palau. Currently, she is working with POLHN as its focal point for Palau, a position she has held for eight years. She caught up with the POLHN team to share some of her experiences.
What is your professional and educational background?
I have an associate arts degree in liberal arts and an associate science degree in library science. Currently, I work as the medical librarian at Belau National Hospital in Palau. I am also the coordinator of the POLHN and professional development centres here.
How long have you been working with POLHN?
I have been working with POLHN for almost eight years now. I started in this position because I was working in the medical library, which is where the POLHN learning centre is located. This is part of the professional development centre in the library.
What does your role within POLHN entail?
My role is all about continuing professional development (CPD), and helping the staff from the Palau Ministry of Health to further their education. CPD is essential to ongoing skills development, not only for workers’ specific medical and diagnostic fields of practice, but also in public health and primary health care. To make sure health professionals can access CPD services, I encourage them to use POLHN. So, I provide reports to WHO and POLHN, and also upkeep and maintain the POLHN learning centre.
What is your most memorable POLHN experience?
In 2010, I had a group of six staff from the Ministry of Health that were enrolled in POLHN program. They would come to the library and study most days. Each time they came, they brought coffee and doughnuts, and would chat with each other while doing their assignments. Learning became such a social, enjoyable and easily accessible experience for them. It was great to see our staff so eager and excited to attain a higher form of education without leaving the island.
What is your favourite part about being a POLHN focal point?
I love being able to assist Palauan health workers achieve lifelong learning and capacity building. I think POLHN is a wonderful and innovative tool for this. It’s great that it offers such a high level of education, with a wide variety of programs that cater to various health professions.
Do you have any advice for POLHN students?
Any person interested in pursuing a higher form of education should be focused and committed. POLHN courses are intense and involve a lot of reading and assignments. But it is worth it in the end!