Friday, July 14, 2006
Nursing students get international educationBy Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
Students from Oakland University’s School of Nursing spend years learning about health care, the U.S. health care system and preparing for their careers as nurses. Two groups of students traveled to Europe this summer to learn about health care as it is delivered in different cultures and how the U.S. health system compares to its global counterparts. The trips not only gave the students a better look at other health care delivery systems but also provided them an insight into European cultures.
Professor of Nursing Gary Moore took a group of 17 students to Italy for 15 days to learn about nursing research, organizations, education and the Italian health care system. The group stayed in Padua, Italy and studied at the University in Padua.
“It was definitely worth it,” said Marjorie Donnelly, a second-year junior in the nursing program. “You can’t buy those kinds of experiences.”
Donnelly said the group learned about experiments, critiqued published articles and examined the significance of a research article they may use in their future careers.
Doni Hoffa, a second-year junior on the trip, said she learned about treating patients in a culturally sensitive manner.
“We were the ones who were different and we now know what our patients are feeling when there is a language or cultural barrier,” said Hoffa.
Moore’s class wasn’t the only group to study abroad. Ann Whall, the Allesee Endowed Chair and distinguished professor of gerontological nursing, who also holds a visiting professorship at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, took three students to the Magee campus of the University of Ulster where they visited six elder care facilities.
“This is a global society these students will be working in because anyone in the world can hop on an airplane and be in the U.S. within 24 hours. We, as health care workers, better know about their native health care system and various illnesses they might have been exposed to,” said Whall.
Whall added, “We wanted to help the students understand that the health care of the elderly depends upon how that society values older adults.”
She also said the nurse-to-patient ratio in Ireland is much smaller in elder care situations, and they focus on interpersonal relationships between the patient and staff.
“The experiences on the trip made me recognize the need to focus on the patient as a person first before the disease,” said Lynn Etters, a graduate student in the adult gerontological nursing and a participant on the Northern Ireland trip.
The students in Ireland were joined by three students from the University of Michigan and the group met each day to discuss their clinical experiences.
“Through these discussions, we were able to learn much more than we might have on our own,” said Etters.
The students also attended an older adult conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where Whall presented her research on maintenance of function in people with dementia.
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Virinder Moudgil helped to partially fund the students’ trip to Ireland.
Both groups of students were required to submit a report about their educational experience in Europe, including what they learned and how they can apply what they learned in the US.
“The trip was amazing. I wish I’d had more time there,” said Hoffa. “It inspired me to want to do more outside the U.S.”