An International Discussion on Attributes of the Professional Nurse as Identified by Senior Baccalaureate Nursing Students from the United Kingdom and the United States

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Rosemary L. Hoffmann, PhD, RN
Department of Acute and Tertiary Care, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Gerri Nevin, RN
Department of Nursing and Women's Health, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Learning Objective 1: discuss professional leadership themes as identified by senior baccalaureate nursing students from the UK and USA

Learning Objective 2: describe opportunities for web based discussion boards as a mechanism to explore cross cultural educational experiences

Purpose: Faculty from the University of Pittsburgh in the United States and Birmingham City University sought to determine how senior baccalaureate nursing students identify attributes of a nursing leader.

Methods: A small cohort of students participated in a three week online WIKIspace discussion board. Both sets of students were enrolled in their final professional nursing course which included objectives related to the role of the nurse as a leader and/or manager. Students completed a demographic form, which asked questions related to experience, interests, most memorable nursing experience, and attributes they believed epitomized a nursing leader In addition, each participant included a photograph to correlate a name with a face. On the first and last day of the three week study period, video conference calling was employed to acquaint the students with one another. Throughout the following weeks, students contributed to the WIKIspace discussion board and faculty from both universities monitored the comments.

Results: Themes were identified in the following areas: common attributes shared by both groups of students, barriers and facilitators to a cross cultural discussion board and student satisfaction.

Conclusion: Professional nursing leadership is not unique to a particular culture (Hartley and Hinksman 2003). Furthermore, as a result of the Internet, opportunities to study abroad or practice internationally, it is imperative that faculty include teaching strategies designed to enhance nursing leadership in their student population. The concept of an internationally discussion board that allows students to dialog with colleagues across the globe only serves to strengthen the bond of professional practice.