International postgraduate nursing students: implications for studying and working within a different culture.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Contemp Nurse, 2006, 22 (1), pp. 7 - 16
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The aims of this paper are twofold, firstly, to review the literature about the experiences of students studying abroad. Secondly, to discuss the results and the issues arising from a quality assurance project that explored the expectations and experiences of international students enrolled in a postgraduate nursing program in an Australian university. International postgraduate nursing students enrolled in either the Graduate Diploma or Master of Nursing programs were approached to participate in a quality assurance project. The open ended descriptive survey explored the participants' expectations and perceptions of their learning in the programs. The results indicated that the participants in this survey struggled not only with their English language skills, both academically and clinically but also with nursing practices and perspectives. Strategies to ameliorate the difficulties experienced by these students are discussed and include: assisting adaptation to the academic program and assessment tasks; orientation to the clinical practice setting; and preparation of culturally competent clinical facilitators who are able to support students' English language skill development. It is concluded that both academic and clinical staff need to develop structured support programs in order to smooth the progress of international postgraduate nursing students' learning and minimize aspects of cultural shock.
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