Robert Gordon University (RGU) has welcomed international students to Aberdeen as part of a new nursing exchange programme.
The transatlantic initiative between RGU and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville is in its first year and has been forged to allow students to exchange clinical, academic and cultural experiences.
American nursing students Lauren Speck, Allie Arnette, Victoria Anderson and Alec Mundy, who are all 21, arrived in the north-east on Sunday, July 13, and will be in Scotland until the end of the month.
In June, RGU students Jill McBride (21) and Charlotte Scott (22) spent two weeks in Knoxville, Tennessee where they shadowed medical and nursing professionals in hospitals and clinics in the area.
This is the first visit to Scotland for the American students who are all in their final year of studies and have self-funded the trip.
While in the north-east they have enjoyed a programme of nursing, academic and social activities, led by students and staff at RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery.
Allie said: “We’ve had such a great time in Aberdeen. Everyone has been really friendly and it’s been fascinating to see how nurses are trained in Scotland as well as how they work together on the wards.”
Lauren said: “I’ve been to Royal Cornhill Hospital as well as Aberdeen Maternity Hospital and all of the nurses have been so caring, kind and happy to talk to us - it’s very special.”
Victoria added: “I’ve learned so much in such a short space of time. The nurses here have given us a lot of their time and go well beyond the call of duty to make sure they’re helping us.”
One of the biggest differences between the two countries was the technology used. Nurses in Scotland still use pen and pad to record patient notes whereas electronic devices are used for the same job in the USA.
Lauren said: “There are some differences in nursing in the UK compared to the USA but there are advantages to both systems. It’s great to be able to see and understand why some things are done the way they are here which definitely helps our understanding when we’re caring for people back home.”
During their time in Aberdeen, the students have also been able to enjoy the culture and this has included exploring the local area, a trip to Pittodrie and tasting haggis and sticky toffee pudding.
Alec said: “Aberdeen is a great city and it has been fun to experience what it has to offer away from work, as well as learning about nursing here in the UK. We’ll all be coming back once our studies are complete.”
Reflecting on their time in the USA, RGU students Jill and Charlotte said they enjoyed their time in Knoxville and getting to know the students who have made the return trip to Scotland.
Jill said: “The exchange to America was brilliant and really opened my eyes to how nursing works in other areas. Our hosts were excellent throughout the visit and the trip reinforced my desire for more experiences overseas.”
Charlotte added: “The trip to Knoxville has completely changed my view of nursing. There are quite a few differences here compared to the system in the USA which I think we can learn from but overall both approaches put the patient at the heart of the care nurses provide.”
Leanna Will, Lecturer and USA coordinator at RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “It has been very positive to see this first nursing exchange between the two universities develop from the planning stage to the delivery of the programme.
“The students involved have experienced a variety of clinical and community settings tailored to their particular nursing interests and it has been encouraging to hear their insights.
“In addition they have enjoyed some interesting cultural experiences unique to Aberdeen and Scotland. All four students have been excellent ambassadors for their university in Knoxville, Tennessee.”
Jackie Leith, Lecturer and Acting USA coordinator at RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, added: “It is great to see our own students and clinical staff in a range of settings making such an effort to welcome and host our guests.”