International Perspective, International Collaborations: Logistic Considerations for Survey Research in Nursing Study Abroad and Exchange

Friday, 28 July 2017

Helen Aveyard, PhD, MA, BSc (Hons)1
Kathleen Greenway, MS2
Sarah Hope Kagan, PhD, RN3
Elissa A. Acevedo, BSN3
(1)School of Health and Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, United Kingdom
(2)School of Health and Social Care, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, United Kingdom
(3)School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Purpose:  To describe and suggest plausible solutions to address logistical challenges involved in designing and conducting multinational survey research examining study abroad options within degree programs, and participation in these programs at the university level from the perspectives of registered nurse alumni.

Methods:  Nursing exists in a global context where essential principles of the discipline are shared, but education and practice vary widely. With the globalization of knowledge and increasingly diverse cultural makeup of communities, nurses contend with challenges in health promotion and maintenance on a trans-national level. Opportunities to experience nursing education and practice in societies other than one's own foster personal and professional growth, valuable comparisons, critical analyses, and possibilities to derive internationally-informed local innovations. Furthermore, trans-cultural study abroad experiences and potential innovations allow for advances in the nursing discipline and attainment of new goals in public health. Despite the potential of study abroad in nursing to address and pose solutions to global health challenges, research broadly constrained by convenience sampling and local foci limits the quality of evidence available and the confidence with which development of study abroad initiatives may be undertaken. Hence, scant evidence exists for use in guiding exchange program development, defining objectives, and evaluating outcomes for the visiting students and host communities. Overcoming logistical challenges of study abroad research in a multinational context is imperative to advancing educational research in this phenomenon. Our methods are to use expert consensus and colleague crowd sourcing to project viable solutions to these challenges.

Results:  The logistical challenges encountered in planning survey research in nursing study abroad include four main concerns. These are: 1.identification of nursing programs around the world offering study abroad options within degree programs; 2.identification of registered nurses across multinational context who have participated in study abroad as part of their degree programs; 3.verification of study abroad participation on the part of registered nurses by nursing programs to allow for paired analysis of programs and participants within each program; and 4. optimal survey design to achieve robust assessment of study abroad experiences, perceptions, and consequences. We pose several potential solutions to overcome these challenges including networking strategies to accrue a complete list of study abroad program; development of a survey platform restricting access to confirmed program staff and their alumni study-abroad participants with data collection to facilitate analysis by program and other characteristics including global regions transited; pre-survey invitations to key international and national nursing organizations to promote partnership; and development of a resource website for institutions offering study abroad programs.

Conclusion: Philosophically, study abroad is understood as a broadening enhancement to degree programs in nursing. Current sociopolitical contexts for nursing, health, and well-being suggest such programs may in fact be far more essential to nursing education in the 21st century. These programs are valuable to innovations in nursing education and practice as a means to address and advance trans-national and trans-cultural public health maintenance, promotion, and outcomes. We anticipate important dialogue with potential partners in presenting our work through this poster.