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Abstract

Nursing study abroad is one approach to preparing student nurses to work more effectively in international environments as well as at home with culturally diverse clients. These programs foster self-reflection by permitting students to spend considerable time immersed in different cultures, thus exposing them to clients with different health beliefs and values. The authors of this transformational phenomenological study examined the lived experience of American and Honduran nursing students working collaboratively during a nursing study abroad program. One-time audio-recorded semi structured interviews were conducted to gather data from American and Honduran students. Six themes emerged: Communication (i.e., language and communication patterns), the cultural environment, and sharing/learning were common themes to both groups; among Hondurans, validation/empowerment and the nursing experience emerged as important themes, while transformation was the theme unique to American students. These findings support previous research regarding the importance of study abroad programs in the development of cultural competence, and suggest directions for nurse educators to prepare nurses who can function in an increasingly globalized health care environment. These findings also highlight the merits of this collaborative approach to nursing study abroad and they provide the foreign hosts’ unique perspective regarding their experiences working with American nursing students. The study results also indicate the need for further research on collaborative experiences with foreign and American health care partners and the perspective of the participants of other countries.

Keywords

Cultural Competence, Study Abroad, Transcultural Communication, Lived Experience, Phenomenology

Publication Date

12-1-2014

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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