Nursing International Programs of Education

Afza.Malik GDA

 International Nursing Educational Program

Nursing International Programs of Education

 International Program In Nursing Education,Impact of International Programs In Nursing Education,Outcomes of International Programs.

International Program In Nursing Education

    An international program is a structured component of a US school of nursing curriculum that provides a focus on global health, including an awareness and appreciation of the importance of culture, issues of globalization, and the diversity of the human condition (Hinrichs, 2003 ) . These programs vary by duration, purpose, and complexity. The duration of an international program may include short-term, 1- to 3-week faculty-led programs or longer-term immersion experiences and include both single episode experience and long-term program development. 

    The purpose of international programs may be focused on education, or on travel/study. Travel/study programs are designed to help students learn about international sites, culture, health system and health challenges, and service-oriented programs that are providing direct service or capacity building in an under served area. International programs may involve a one-way outreach of students and/or faculty or two way exchanges that involve students and faculty in multilevel complex interactions.

Impact of International Programs In Nursing Education 

    Impetus for the development of international programs in nursing education has been grounded in an awareness of the rapidly changing landscape in which the next generation of nurses will practice. The changing landscape includes transformations in population mobility, communication, information technology, social media, and increasing diversity. A nursing workforce with the cultural awareness, sensitivity, and appreciation necessary to provide competent care is the goal.

    Civic engagement through international programs provides a mechanism for teaching the social responsibility of nursing including the role of advocacy for the health of populations, development of health policy, social justice, and fulfilling nursing's social contract with society (Nicholas, Corless , Fulmer , & Meedzan , 2012). The addition of academic service learning (ASL) to international programs provides experiential learning opportunities to develop the assessment and care giving skills needed to provide culturally competent care to diverse populations. ASI. programs contribute to teaching international leadership, clinical reasoning, professional role development, and inter-professional teamwork ( Kaddoura , Puri , & Dominick, 2014).

Outcomes of International Programs

    Issues identified in the literature are focused in three main categories: the value of developing international programs and obstacles to doing so, impact of the programs on students and impact on the international sites.In an early survey of study abroad baccalaureate programs in the United States, Linquist (1986) reported that 14% of the 319 schools responding currently had a study abroad program as part of the curriculum. Despite growing support for international programs in nursing education, in a recent survey, still less than half of the schools of nursing in the United States were identified as having international programs (McKinnon & Fitzpatrick, 2012). 

    In addition, there are significant obstacles to developing international programs (McKinnon & McNelis , 2013). Major obstacles include a limited number of faculty prepared to develop and lead international programs, as well as constraints on including the program as part of the required curriculum. When the program is not part of the regular curriculum, there is a reduction in resources available to support the program. In addition, adding an elective course may not be considered a significant part of faculty work so that time spent in developing or leading the program may increase demands on faculty. 

    Memmott et al. (2010) highlight the importance of developing an international program in congruence with the overall mission of the school by articulating the contribution of the international program to learning outcomes in order for it to be an integral part of the curriculum. Although participation in an international program is viewed as a valuable student experience, a review of the literature reveals relatively little evaluation beyond personal and anecdotal reports of the value of international programs (McAuliffe & Cohen, 2005) Studies are primarily descriptive and focus primarily on the students' increased understanding and appreciation of other cultures, as well as a deeper appreciation of their own culture. 

    Experiences have been described as transformational and life changing (Levine, 2009). In a qualitative study, Evanson and Zust (2006) studied former baccalaureate students 2 years after an international experience. The overarching theme of Bittersweet Knowledge was identified. Three sub themes were: coming to understand, representing positive feelings of increased cultural awareness, and long-term connections; unsettled feelings representing questions about the value of the experience to the site and guilt over the economic disparities that existed; and advocating for change, reflecting the subject's sense of a long term changed life view and a sense of responsibility to advocate for changes at personal, local, and global levels.

    A significant issue in sustaining an international program is balancing the benefit of the host site with sporadic, short-term service.International programs can be a valuable part of a school of nursing program and, as the process of globalization of society continues, an increasingly essential one. The following recommendations contribute to the sustainability of an international program. 

    The program should be congruent with the overall mission of the school of nursing and/or the college or university and contribute to the learning objectives of the school of nursing curriculum; theoretical and evidence based as part of the required curriculum rather than an elective in order to have sufficient resources and be a regular part of a faculty workload; developed in collaboration with the host site personnel. identifying specific outcomes to be achieved for the host site as well as learning outcomes for the students, along with an evaluation plan; and evaluated with short- and long-term goals that are planned prior to initiating the program.

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