Expanding health care horizons in Ireland: a student perspective
Villanova, PA, June 9, 2010 — The global aspects of nursing were evident to thirteen Villanova University College of Nursing students who participated in an International Field Experience in Nursing at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) in May. The juniors and seniors were joined by several adult students from the second-degree accelerated program and were accompanied by Assistant Professor Marycarol McGovern, PhD, RN and Associate Professor Suzanne Zamerowski, PhD, RN. Students were partially funded by Connelly-Delouvrier International Nursing Scholarships for the two week opportunity which also included time for exploration of Irish countryside, culture and history.
Formal classes at Villanova, which included a research paper assignment, provided the students with knowledge of the historical perspective, culture, nursing profession and health care in Ireland. While at NUIG the students learn from the faculty, students and clinical nurses about the nursing profession, current issues, patient care and resources. The Villanova students were interested in the fact that NUIG nursing students select their area of practice, such as midwifery, general practice or psychiatric nursing, as they enter school. Samantha Wu, a junior, appreciated the interaction with her counterparts, “It was nice to see what the nursing students at NUIG thought about their curriculum and observe their reaction when we tell them about ours.” She notes, “I learned that although there are very different ways of educating nurses and how the health care system is run, the goal to provide the best care for patients is the same.”
Lauren Honeycutt, a junior, who has an interest in becoming a family nurse practitioner, expanded her knowledge of that role in Ireland and discovered more about research “I was impressed with some of the nursing research that is going on in Ireland. Their research is very practice-oriented and focuses on what types of things nurses can integrate into their practice to improve patient care,” she says. Students found value in learning about the healthcare system which they feel is somewhat similar to the new system that Americans will have. “We had a discussion on the similarities and differences between Ireland and America, so now I feel more educated on how our system will actually work,” offers Honeycutt. What about a comparison of students and their education? Honeycutt affirms, “Even though the means are different, both programs have the same end result: a group of dedicated students who want to improve our patients’ lives.”