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An evaluation of undergraduate\ud nursing students’ studying abroad

By Barbara Wood and Pam Cranmer


Introduction: The aim of this study was to evaluate\ud whether nursing students become more aware of\ud cultural differences and are able to care in a more\ud culturally competent manner, having taken the\ud opportunity to work abroad during their nursing\ud programme. Third year students are offered the\ud chance to undertake an overseas placement\ud supported by sponsorship from the School.\ud Methods: A qualitative approach for data collection\ud was used with focus groups interviews. Ethical\ud approval was successfully received from the University.\ud Anonymity was guaranteed with all participants.\ud Data was analysed using a thematic and\ud content analysis approach\ud Results: Preliminary analysis of the data has identified\ud the following themes:\ud • Cultural differences\ud • Cultural sensitivity\ud • Cultural awareness\ud • Critical thinking\ud • Problem Solving\ud • Personal development\ud Evaluated data has highlighted students feel better\ud prepared to and appreciate the diverse nature of\ud caring in an ever changing health care environment.\ud Discussion: Statements from the European\ud Union advocate mobility of the future workforce,\ud language acquisition, employability and a consistent\ud qualifications system throughout the European\ud Union. The ICN (2007) stated that curricula must\ud be planned in relation to total health needs and\ud resources of the target population and their social\ud and cultural background. This initiative provides\ud students with the opportunity to understand the\ud needs of a diverse population and to develop\ud understanding and communication skills that may\ud be utilised in the health care arenas both nationally\ud and internationally.\ud Conclusions: Supporting the students to undertake\ud an overseas placement develops their cultural sensitivity\ud and competence in caring for individuals in\ud a multi cultural society that promotes understanding\ud of the needs of communities. Additionally it\ud promotes personal and professional development\ud of the students developing their problem solving\ud and critical thinking skills ensuring that on registration\ud they are ‘fit for practice’ within health care.\ud Recommended reading:\ud European Union (1999) Bologna Declaration: Joint\ud Declaration of the European Ministers of Education,convened in Bologna on the 19th June 1999. http://\ud\ud Accessed 9th October 2008.\ud Ruddock, H.C & Turner S, (2007) ‘Developing\ud Cultural Sensitivity: Nursing Students’ Experiences\ud of a Study Abroad Programme’. Journal of Advanced\ud Nursing, 59, (4) pp. 361-369.\ud ICN (2007), Position Statement.\ud pfcardev.htm. Accessed 31st October 2008

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