The Experiences of Nurses and Public Health Nurses on International Student Exchange

  • Henna Hertell
  • Published 2017


The increase of multiculturalism causes changes in peoples' health needs. From the nursing perspective it is very important to assess the challenges of increased mobility and immigration for the development of nursing and nursing education. One of the professional requirements for graduating nurses is the development of cultural skills. This target is pursued by offering students an opportunity to undertake studies abroad. The main purpose of this paper was to explore the meaning of international student exchange for Finnish nurses and public health nurses. The aim was also to describe the meaning of international student exchange in regard to the development of professional identity and cultural knowledge self-assessed. A qualitative approach was used in this study. The data were collected through interviews. Six (n=6) Finnish nurses and two (n=2) Finnish public health nurses participated in the study. The Participants had been on international exchange between 6 to 10 years ago. The exchange place were in Africa, Nepal and Europe. The data were analysed using the content analysis technique. International exchange affected personal growth. The widening of one`s world view, personal development, and the experience of being different relative to others were related to personal growth. International exchange also improved professional growth. The strengthening of confidence in work, and becoming familiar with different treatment practices and working environments as well as the recognition of the position of nurses in treatment culture and society as a whole were related to professional growth. A functional work community as a resource for nurses was considered to be a meaningful factor. International exchange had a significant effect on nursing based on cultural needs. A family oriented way of working, the recognition of the multidimensional aspects of health and illness, and cultural sensitivity were related to this kind of cultural nursing. The recognition of the challenges caused by differences in health and welfare was considered The results of this study suggest that international experience improves the personal resources needed in nursing as well as the knowledge, practical skills and attitudes related to nursing based on cultural needs. The results can be used in the planning and implementation of international exchange practices in nursing education.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Hertell2017TheEO, title={The Experiences of Nurses and Public Health Nurses on International Student Exchange}, author={Henna Hertell}, year={2017} }