Care for Europe Erasmus+ KA2 project aims to internationalise nursing courses through a better integration of incoming nursing students during their clinical placements. Digital material created in this project will also provide virtual reality educational experiences for nursing students. Nursing professions are increasingly concerned with globalisation and it is therefore important to train our future nurses in multicultural teamwork so that they acquire intercultural competences already during their studies. The cultural diversity of the four participants located in four different European regions: France, Hungary, Spain and Finland, will result in rich exchanges allowing the comparison of visions, cultures and care practices.
Care for Europe Erasmus+ KA2 project aims to internationalise nursing courses through a better integration of incoming nursing students during their clinical placements. In the project, digital pedagogical material will be produced to help international nursing exchange students orientate to their student exchange and clinical placement in a new country and culture. The digital pedagogical material will be created in co-operation with partner countries and higher education institutions as well as relevant stakeholders such as nurse educators, nurses and nursing exchange students. The Care for Europe project is coordinated by the French Red Cross IRFSS Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (France) and the project partners are University of Pécs (Hungary), University of Lleida (Spain) and Laurea University of Applied Sciences (Finland).
One of the pedagogical materials, produced in the project, is a massive open online course (MOOC) that aims to introduce the concept of cultural competence to the nursing exchange students and to orientate them to clinical placements in nursing education in Finland, France, Hungary and Spain. The MOOC’s theoretical structure has been co-created with the project partners, and the content of the MOOC is based on literature reviews in each content area that were recognized relevant.
The MOOC includes seven study modules. The first module is an orientation module where the nursing exchange student gets instructions for the MOOC. In the second module, students can introduce themselves and their country to other students. In the third module students reflect their own personal values and beliefs to be more aware of their own cultural background. Students also learn to understand the basic principles for developing cultural competences and critically examine the concepts such as ethnocentricity and stereotyping. The fourth module provides country specifics information about nursing profession and nursing education, which will help students to integrate better to the new environment and to the clinical placement. The fifth study module focuses on mentoring practices and practical issues in clinical placements, and for example, helps nursing exchange students to formulate the learning goals for clinical placement. In the sixth study module, students get information about the exchange country and local culture. Finally, the seventh module allows students to give feedback about the MOOC.
In the pilot version of the MOOC, the content and assignments were developed on Canvas, which is a web-based learning environment and learning management system that allows educators manage and assess student learning and facilitate collaborative learning. After the piloting stage, the course content will be emerged to ThingLink learning environment, which allows the use of 360 degrees interactive pictures, and for example, virtual tours in the local learning environments. The 360 degrees images will be taken in each project partner country in their nursing learning environments, which would offer the incoming nursing students an opportunity to prepare them better for the clinical placement in the receiving country.
The pilot version of the MOOC was developed for nursing exchange students who are planning a nursing exchange in Finland. The pilot version of the MOOC is being tested in partner countries and the feedback is collected from nursing exchange students, nurse educator and other relevant staff members who are working with nursing exchange students. The content and assignments of the MOOC will be developed further following the results from the piloting stage. Furthermore, the country specific versions of the MOOC will be produced utilizing the feedback from the pilot version.
The MOOC pilot will run until 10th of April 2022 in Finland, France, Hungary and Spain. If you are interested to test the MOOC and help Care for Europe project to develop the MOOC further, please contact us and we will add you in the piloting group.
Photo credit: Ilpo Uusivirta/Laurea
Clinical placements play an essential role in nursing education and clinical environments are becoming increasingly multicultural. It is therefore important to focus educational interventions on better integration into the clinical environment and developing intercultural competencies. To launch our Erasmus+ project for innovation and exchange of good practices, a Training Activity on how to develop the mentoring and integration of nursing students from another culture into a clinical environment was organised online coordinated by Laurea University of Applied Sciences.
On the first day of the Training Activity, the participants gathered to discuss the current situation in their countries and organisations. The objective was also to identify training needs, existing good practices and possible concerns in each country, which was done by creating a teamwork activity around these topics in the first workshop for later use in the project.
On the second training day, the participants had the great pleasure to familiarise themselves with the research findings of professor Kristina Mikkonen and researcher Ashlee Oikarainen from the University of Oulu in Finland. They shared their profound knowledge of the integration of culturally and linguistically diverse nursing students into healthcare organisations as well as their brilliant expertise in cultural competence education for mentors with the participants.
Later in the afternoon on the second training day, the participants had a change to have a workshop on professional language skills for nursing with researcher Inkeri Lehtimaja who provided them with useful tips and recommendations on how to support the students’ foreign language learning during training.
On the third day, there was an interesting opportunity to retrace an Erasmus student’s internship path in the clinical environment of the project coordinator IRFSS AuRA in France, during which the participants could experience through many testimonies how rewarding it can be to have an international trainee on the ward, both from the professionals’ and patients’ perspectives.
On the fourth training day, the participants became familiar with the Hungarian partners, the University of Pécs and PhD Orsolya Máté’s studies on transcultural nursing as well as PhD Klára Simon’s case studies on communicational incidents in health care. The participants could find many similarities in their countries regarding the minorities in health care, such as challenges in communication due to the respect for the elderly and traditional gender roles as well as different health practices that could be avoided by developing mutual understanding.
On the last training day, the participants could travel virtually to Spain to meet several healthcare professionals from the University of Lleida and listen to their testimonies. Near their Igualada campus, there is a very modern 4D Health Innovation Simulation Center, where students can become familiar with clinical practices in a real clinical environment. One of the advantages of this simulation center is that all the situations where actors play the patients’ roles can be recorded and analysed afterwards by students and teachers. The day was a perfect way to conclude the project’s first training activity, which served as a very important starting point for the intellectual outputs and provided the project partners with evidence-based material for their future work.
Language barriers were discussed on many occasions during the training activity, but it was also found that international students often become very close to the patients, which reveals that there are of course more dimensions in communication than just the spoken language. Clinical mentors often found that they learned not just new practices from the international student, but also that they were able to see their own practices and work from a different valuable perspective, and even step out from the healthcare framework they had built around themselves. A very enriching experience in any profession!
The first Training Activity will take place at the start of the project, as it will also aim to unite the partners around the project. It will be intended for lecturers responsible for clinical placements/internships, that is the people who provide the link between an incoming student and their internship structure, or who place incoming students on internships.
On September 14, 2020 Care for Europe kick-off meeting was held online through Zoom. The goals of the meeting were
We also discussed questions partners had regarding the present pandemic situation and how it will affect the project.
In April 2020, the French Red Cross and three European universities decided to partner and to respond to a request for proposals of strategic partnership projects under the Erasmus+ programme. Our project was accepted and, on September 1, 2020, Care for Europe project was officially started.