Challenging Global Health Perspectives with Nursing Internship Experiences

Monday, 9 November 2015: 10:00 AM

Amy Nagorski Johnson, PhD, MSN, RNC-NIC-E
Institute for Global Studies, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA

Background: The trend of University students traveling on semester abroad programs is common, yet nursing students experience problems trying to fit these experiences in to their sometimes overwhelming curriculum plan.  Although global healthcare issues are infused in nursing discussions on campus, hands on clinical experiences and interactions with healthcare workers in developed and developing countries give new nurses a unique perspective on the issues within the global system.  The problem, however, is how do we make the contacts to develop experiences that are meaningful to nursing while maintaining our curricular plan?

Goal:  To establish global clinical nursing internship experiences that are tied to the eight Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, the blueprint of a global action plan that crosses healthcare in developed and developing countries.

Method:  A thinktank of health sciences professors at our University discussed the implications of internship programs and determined that course credit should be associated with the experience to guide the student in understanding the global issues while acknowledging this experience on their transcripts for professional development. A one credit course was written to meet the objectives including synthesize experiential and academic knowledge to gain an understanding of global healthcare issues, demonstrate an understanding of cultural considerations in healthcare delivery, discuss cultural considerations locally and globally in providing care to diverse populations, and compare professional role behaviors relevant to practice locally and globally.

Potential clinical sites were identified through University exchange agreements and international research activity and contacts were made to determine interest in this collaboration.  With a goal of sending one hundred students on global internship experiences in the coming year, programs were established, advertised through the media and interest meetings, and applications began coming in to our online registration site.  Because all programs filled in less than a month and we exceeded our projected goal, it is clear that these experiences filled a student need.

Evaluation:  An online evaluation tool was developed to determine student satisfaction with the experiences as well as measure outcomes.  This will be completed in the coming months once all students have returned from their internship placements.

Conclusion:  Global placement for nursing experiences offer a unique perspective to the novice nurse in caring for culturally diverse populations with differing resources.  With challenges in obtaining clinical placements locally, perhaps this is a potential solution to getting the clinical experiences students need before graduation.