Wood, Barbara and Cranmer, Pam (2009) An evaluation of undergraduate nursing students’ studying abroad. In: The 2009 RCN International Nursing Research Conference, Tuesday 24-Friday 27 March 2009, Cardiff, Wales. (Unpublished)

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

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