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How do we facilitate international clinical placements for nursing students: A cross-sectional exploration of the structure, aims and objectives of placements

Browne, C.A.ORCID: 0000-0003-4793-1454 and Fetherston, C.M. (2018) How do we facilitate international clinical placements for nursing students: A cross-sectional exploration of the structure, aims and objectives of placements. Nurse Education Today, 66 . pp. 1-7.

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International clinical placements provide undergraduate students with a unique and complex clinical learning environment, to explore cultural awareness, experience different health care settings and achieve clinical competencies. Higher education institutions need to consider how to structure these placements to ensure appropriate and achievable aims and learning outcomes.

In this study we described the structure, aims and learning outcomes associated with international clinical placement opportunities currently undertaken by Australian undergraduate nursing students in the Asia region.

Forty eight percent (n = 18) of the institutions invited responded. Eight institutions met the inclusion criteria, one of which offered three placements in the region, resulting in 10 international placements for which data were provided.

An online survey tool was used to collect data during August and September 2015 on international clinical placements conducted by the participating universities. Descriptive data on type and numbers of placements is presented, along with results from the content analysis conducted to explore data from open ended questions on learning aims and outcomes.

One hundred students undertook 10 International Clinical Placements offered in the Asian region by eight universities. Variations across placements were found in the length of placement, the number of students participating, facilitator to student ratios and assessment techniques used. Five categories related to the aims of the programs were identified: ‘becoming culturally aware through immersion’, ‘working with the community to promote health’, ‘understanding the role of nursing within the health care setting’, ‘translating theory into professional clinical practice’, and ‘developing relationships in international learning environments’. Four categories related to learning outcomes were identified: ‘understanding healthcare and determinants of health’, ‘managing challenges’, ‘understanding the role of culture within healthcare’ and ‘demonstrating professional knowledge, skills and behaviour’.

International clinical placements in the Asia region appear to vary greatly from one education institution to the next with no clear consensus from either this study's findings or the literature on which structure, support and assessments lead to greater student learning.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Health Professions
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2018 Elsevier Ltd.
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