International virtual exchange for student nurses and student midwives

Debra Morgan, Gill Smith

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Abstract

Promotional abstract: Student exchange facilitates positive learning outcomes. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic traditional student nurse and midwifery exchanges have not been possible. To support students to continue to undertake transcultural education and learning an alternative virtual exchange has been designed and undertaken. This virtual exchange comprises 60 students from 10 partner universities, representing five countries across the European Union (EU) and United States (US). This innovation offers opportunities for continuation in future years as either a blended activity or full alternative to traditional student nursing and midwifery exchange programmes. This paper will report on the design, implementation and evaluation of this virtual exchange innovation.

Background, context and evidence base for the innovation, including, where possible, its international relevance: Student nurse and midwifery exchange facilitates positive learning outcomes e.g. personal and professional growth, attainment of cultural learning outcomes and developing an understanding of global health (Ruddock & Turner, 2007; Keogh & Russel-Roberts, 2009; Maltby et al., 2016; Morgan, 2018, 2019). However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these exchanges have not been possible. Underpinned by the evidence identifying the positives of traditional exchange, an alternative virtual exchange has been designed and undertaken in partnership with 10 EU and US universities. This six-week virtual exchange innovation comprises 60 student nurses and student midwives from these partners, representing five countries.

Aim/focus of the innovation: The aims of the virtual exchange mirror those of the standard student exchange. These are: for students to develop personally and professionally; to develop cultural competence; and to develop as global graduates and global citizens. A further aim is to evaluate the exchange to inform future deliveries and disseminate transferable knowledge to others. This is important as it is anticipated that virtual exchange will become commonplace as they support the widening participation agenda. For example, virtual exchange removes barriers to participation for students who are less financially supported or who have external commitments preventing traditional exchange.

Implementation of the innovation: The virtual exchange has been designed by two senior lecturers at Northumbria University. Design comprised development of learning outcomes, a transcultural learning guide, three seminars, design of transcultural peer groups and a Microsoft Teams site. It also included recruitment of international academic partners. Partners invited their students to participate and they support their students during the exchange and facilitate seminars. In their allocated transcultural peer group, students work virtually to learn about each other’s countries and cultures. They also undertake a clinical case study to explore nursing and midwifery practice from a transcultural perspective. The virtual exchange runs for six weeks.

Methods used to assess the innovation: A mixed-methods research approach will be used to assess the innovation. Purposive sampling will be utilised. All Nursing and Midwifery students who have undertaken the exchange (N = 60), will be invited to participate in the study. Electronic questionnaires will be completed and online focus groups will be held. Focus groups will be hosted by each partner university with their own students, so there will be 10 focus groups. Descriptive statistical analysis will be used for the quantitative data generated and Morgan’s method for thematic data analysis (2021) will be employed to analyse focus group data.

Key findings: This virtual exchange innovation offers an opportunity for universities worldwide to continue to support their students to develop transcultural learning outcomes despite travel limitations, and represents a new evidence-based transcultural educational approach to support Nursing and Midwifery students. It offers a sustainable approach to transcultural learning as travel is not required for students to develop a transcultural community of peers with whom they can learn about cultures and nursing and midwifery practices globally. It supports global widening participation and offers opportunities for students unable to participate in traditional exchange, e.g. due to financial barriers, caring commitments or disabilities.

Three key points to indicate how your work contributes to knowledge development within the selected theme:

This virtual exchange innovation:

offers an opportunity for universities worldwide to continue to support their students to develop transcultural learning outcomes despite travel limitations;

represents a new evidence-based transcultural educational approach to support Nursing and Midwifery students;

offers a sustainable approach to transcultural learning;

supports global widening participation and offers opportunities for students unable to participate in traditional exchange.
Original languageEnglish
Pages2Aiv
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2021
EventNET 2021 Conference: NET2021 -
Duration: 1 Sept 20213 Sept 2021

Conference

ConferenceNET 2021 Conference
Abbreviated titleNET2021
Period1/09/213/09/21

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