Do student demographics and country location affect the international learning experience of nursing students?

Susan Ka Yee Chow, Keith Hin Kee Fung


Objective: Nursing students who participate in overseas placements are considered to have excellent opportunities to broaden their horizons and promote their personal and professional development. This study examines and compares nursing students’ learning outcomes from their international experience in various countries.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional descriptive study. The study was conducted in a university that arranges overseas clinical placements for nursing students in pre-registration programmes. The participants were students in different years of study from a variety of nursing programmes. A questionnaire developed by the researchers, the International Education Survey was used to collect data.

Results: One hundred and forty-five valid questionnaires were collected. The students spent their summer overseas placement in a variety of countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Japan, and mainland China. On a macro level, students benefitted from the experiences. For international perspective, the students who visited Japan gave the highest rating of 5.30 (SD = 0.51), while the score for China was among the lowest at 5.02 (SD = 0.51). For personal development, the mean score was 4.58 (SD = 0.84) for students who visited China, while the highest mean score was 5.16 (SD = 0.54) for students who visited the US. For intellectual development, the lowest mean score was 4.45 (SD = 0.97) for students who visited China, while those who visited the US gave the highest rating of 5.14 (SD = 0.62). There was a significant difference in the scores for personal development between students who travelled to different countries, at p < .05. A chi-square test showed a significant association in international perspective between junior and senior students.

Conclusions: Demographics and country location influenced the students’ overseas learning experience. Nurse educators are encouraged to use a reflective approach to help students to identity what they have gained from their placement, to maximize the value of their overseas experiences.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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