Lifelong learners such as nurses require skills to flexibly respond to change, proactively develop their competencies and participate successfully in society (Redecker et al 2011). European placement exchanges can provide this and support Leuven’s 20/2020 target to increase student mobility (Sweeney 2012). Learning in placement provides 50% of the educational experience for pre-registration nursing students. Benefit of this are considerable (Warne et al, 2010) and additionally exchanges enhance development of cultural competence and international practice perspectives. Critics (Shieh, 2004) report students feel ‘disintegration’ having problems with dependence and identity. However, Button et al (2005) assert positive aspects: cultural difference, comparison of international healthcare systems, practice, personal development and critical perspectives. Nursing education and practice has evolved however some European areas are still evolving aliging to Bologna cycles. Thus varied settings await nursing students entering clinical placement, both outgoing to host countries and incoming to the UK. Students' reflective evaluations reveal at times turbulent journeys and experiences reminiscent of the W-curve of adjustment (Zeller and Mosier, 1993). UK students acknowledge improved personal awareness and independence, reconceptualising the ‘essence’ of care and communication. Incoming European students report increased independence, enhanced multidisciplinary relationships, wide ethnic diversity (London), expanded nursing roles and surprise at patents negotiating care. These reflect the future skills of flexibility and new learning patterns for life wide and lifelong learning (Redecker et al, 2011) preparing for the future. This session will be discursive presenting key themes from student narratives and evaluations then posing thinking-point questions to the audience.
Sheila Cunningham, Middlesex University, United Kingdom
Stream: Student learning
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