Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

The Many Benefits of Teaching Abroad

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

The Many Benefits of Teaching Abroad

Article excerpt

As a Fulbright scholar, I had the privilege during this past academic year of teaching at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland. I was honored to be part of such a prestigious program, and pleased to have been selected for both my teaching and research expertise. Although I had participated in many international programs and provided consultation throughout the world, I had never lived, or taught, in another country for an extended period of time.

To say that I learned as much about myself and my own culture as I did about the culture of my host country seems trite, but it is absolutely true. Designed to foster scholarly and cultural exchanges, the Fulbright program offers many opportunities to detail for others the status of education in one's own country. Thus, on almost every occasion in which I met new people, I was asked about nursing education and professional practice in the United States. And, while I knew many of the basic facts about US nursing, I quickly learned that this was important information to have available for casual conversations, as well as to present in formal sessions.

Importantly, not only was I expected to know details about US nursing, but I also was expected to have opinions on key issues such as educational preparation for entry into practice and the recruitment of foreign educated nurses. Although I have never shied away from strong opinions, I needed to have all of the facts and rationales at hand so as to ensure accurate reporting. I represented US nurses and our profession, and I wanted to be as precise and knowledgeable as possible.

I was also expected to know about other US health care issues, including the insurance and reimbursement systems, various aspects of health care delivery, and the roles of physicians and other health professionals. …

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