Developing Undergraduate BSN Students' Sense of Nursing's Responsibility in Health Policy and Global Health Using a Study Abroad Course

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Evelyn J. Norton, RN, MS, CNL, NEA-BC
Zepure Samawi
Linda Ungerleider, MSN, ACRN, PhD
School of Nursing, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, IL

Learning Objective 1: Identify a process to develop nursing courses in international health policy in an undergraduate bachelor of science nursing curriculum using a study abroad experience.

Learning Objective 2: Investigate and discuss the developed course impact on the USA undergraduate nursing studentsí, reflecting on their experience of studying health policies in a global perspective.

The purpose of this travel/study course is to begin to develop in BSN nursing students' a sense of nursing’s responsibility in global health issues and to explore how national health policies affect the health and access to care for women, infants and children in a developing country compared to the U.S.A. Additionally, students study Florence Nightingale’s contributions to nursing during her work in the Crimean War. A highlight of the trip is a visit to the Florence Nightingale Museum in the suburbs of Istanbul, where Ms. Nightingale lived and worked during the Crimean War. The national health policies of the Eurasian Middle-Eastern country of Turkey are studied and these health care policies are compared and contrasted to the United States. This course concludes with a 10 day visit abroad to Turkey. Travel includes visits to a children’s hospital, a NICU, an orphanage, a college of nursing, and an international organization devoted to maternal & infant and child health care. Students have an opportunity to immerse themselves in Turkish culture and history, health care practices for women, infants, and children, and health policy in the US and Turkey.


The purpose of this research is three fold.


  • First, discuss the process required to develop nursing courses in international undergraduate nursing bachelor of science curriculum.

  • Second, to investigate and discuss the developed course impact on the USA undergraduate nursing students reflecting on their experiences on international health policies.

  • Third, the travel study course will be discussed by the participants. The course concluded with a study abroad trip to Turkey.



  • Explore the students perceptions of health care policies in the Eurasian

Middle-Eastern country of Turkey and the USA.


  • Discover how health policies influence the delivery of care to women, infants, and children in the USA s Turkey.

  • Determine if the students have an increased sense of responsibility in the role of nursing as it relates to global health policy issues.



  • Fifteen self selected BSN nursing students of diverse backgrounds who enrolled in the N383-05 Special Topics: Study Abroad in Turkey course in a private mid-western university

  • The course was cross referenced with the Middle Eastern Studies Program at Saint Xavier University

  • Qualitative study, pre/post testing with narrative journals

  • Five week course in the USA for 15 undergraduate nursing students

  • Studied the history of Florence Nightingale’s contributions to modern nursing during her work in the Crimean war at the Selimiye Barracks in Istanbul, Turkey

  • Students did group presentations on international health organizations

  • Students wrote a paper on health care policies in the USA vs. Turkey

  • Introduction to Turkish culture and cuisine.

  • Course concluded with a 10 day travel study trip to Turkey


Students reported an increased understanding of international health policies as they related to maternal, infant & child health from a global perspective, and the importanice of nursings’ role in global health. The nursing students from Turkey and the USA shared their experiences being in an undergraduate nursing program in the USA as compared to Turkey. USA Students commented: "They are just like us!" Students learned the significance of the contributions of Florence Nightingale to modern nursing. Students learned about Turkish history and culture.