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International clinical placements for Australian undergraduate nursing students: A systematic thematic synthesis of the literature

Browne, C.A., Fetherston, C.M. and Medigovich, K. (2015) International clinical placements for Australian undergraduate nursing students: A systematic thematic synthesis of the literature. Nurse Education Today, 35 (10). pp. 1028-1036.

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: International clinical placements provide undergraduate nursing students with the opportunity to experience or practice nursing care in diverse countries, settings, and cultures. This systematic review aims to ascertain the current knowledge on international clinical placements offered by undergraduate nursing programs in Australia. It seeks to explore three questions: (1) How have previous experiences of nursing students’ international clinical placements been described? (2) How have participants and stakeholders determined if the placement has been successful? And (3) What benefits or challenges have been identified by stakeholders as a result of participating in international clinical placements?

: A systematic thematic synthesis was undertaken.

Data Sources
: A search of electronic databases including CINAHL, Proquest Central, Scopus, PubMed, and Health Collection was undertaken between September and October 2014.

Review Methods
: Key terms including ‘international clinical placement’, ‘study abroad’, ‘international exchange’, ‘nursing’, and ‘Australia’ were used to identify articles that appeared in peer-reviewed English language journals and that explored international clinical placements offered to undergraduate nursing students by Australian universities.

: Eight studies were identified that meet the inclusion criteria, and through thematic analysis, five key themes were identified including developing cultural awareness and competence, providing a global perspective on health care, translation of theory to practice, growing personally through reflection, and overcoming apprehension to successfully meet the challenge. A comparison search of literature from Canada and the United Kingdom revealed that similar themes occurred internationally.

: Although personal successes were identified by students undertaking international clinical placement, further research is required to identify all stakeholder experiences including those of the educators, the educational institutions, and travel providers supporting these placements and the communities where the placements take place.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Health Professions
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2015 Elsevier Ltd
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