Students discuss the ideal nurse at European intensive programme

A number of Nursing students from Robert Gordon University (RGU) have returned from Barcelona, where they worked with their European counterparts to improve their intercultural abilities.

RGU ENNE RepresentativesSix students were selected to represent RGU and Scotland in the annual European Network of Nurses in Higher Education (ENNE) Intensive Programme.

The ENNE is a network that consists of nursing schools from higher education institutions in 14 European countries and RGU has been the sole Scottish member since 2000.

The network’s main purpose is to enable students to develop their intercultural competencies, broaden their experiences and improve their knowledge of health care systems in different European countries.

Each year, one of the institutions holds an ‘intensive programme’ for second and third year students, with this year’s event being hosted by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona on 23-29 April.

Carol Jackson, International Exchanges Coordinator from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, who organised the visit, said: “We’re immensely proud of the university’s place as part of this prestigious network and what it means to the development of our students.

“Throughout their work over the five days, they gain an awareness of nursing values and approaches across different European health care systems, while expanding their intercultural competencies, which are required to become a registered nurse.”

The main programme is run using problem-based learning principles, in which students of different nationalities work together in small tutorial groups to design the ideal European nurse and plan care for specific patient case scenarios.

This allows the students to share their knowledge, practice and experiences of areas such as acute care, palliative care, mental health, pain management and death, while they work together to come to a solution and develop a ‘European care plan’.

Katrina Whittingham, Nursing lecturer and Spanish Link Teacher at RGU, said: “It is always incredibly impressive to see how the students really throw themselves into the group work and the various ways they choose to present their findings to the international audience. In recent years, we’ve had things ranging from powerpoint presentations, to dramatisations and even poetry.

“I think our own students relish the role of not only being ambassadors for RGU, but for nursing across Scotland. What the ENNE does well is take that national pride and bring each country together to show we’re all the same and that leads to great partnerships going forward.”

To better understand the various cultures that make up the network, each cohort also gives a presentation about their own country, covering such things as the health and social care system, their curriculum, food, lifestyle and family patterns.

In addition, there is a heavy emphasis on the social side of the visit, with outings and fun activities to experience more of the country they’re in.

Jan Dijkhuizen, an RGU Nursing student who took part in the programme, said: “Over the course of the week, we took part in walking tours, a picnic and even water activities and it was nice to spend time with all of the European students outside of the programme.

“We were also taken to the university and hospital where the Spanish students work and we received a talk from one of their tutors about HIV treatment, which was really informative and inspirational.”

“I think I can say on behalf of all of the RGU students that we had a really good time on the trip and found it very worthwhile.”


Release by Jonathon Milne
Communications Officer | Health and Sport
Press and Media Enquiries