US nursing exchange gives students transatlantic perspective

Nursing students from Robert Gordon University (RGU) and University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK) have taken part in an international exchange programme this summer to learn more about their profession across the Atlantic Ocean.

US RGU nursing exchange 2016The transatlantic initiative between RGU and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville is in its third year and has been forged to allow students to exchange clinical, academic and cultural experiences.

American nursing students Lindsey Miles (23), Brenna McMackin (26), Maraya Futcher (21) and Annie Darroch (21), made their first visit to Scotland in July and are all in their final year of their studies.

The students self-funded their trip to Aberdeen and during their time in the north-east they enjoyed a programme of nursing, academic and social activities, led by students and staff at RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Breanna said: “The exchange programme has been very insightful. We were given mentors within the hospital who provided us with great learning experiences. The nurses here have given us a lot of their time and have been beyond friendly.”

Lindsay added: “We got a good insight into each area and through observation we soon realised how nursing here is surprisingly similar to back home in the US.”

Annie said: “There are some differences in nursing in the UK compared to the USA but there are advantages to both systems. Both places have different set ups which work really well.

“For example, in the Intensive Care Unit in Scotland there is a one nurse to one patient ratio compared to the two patients to one nurse ratio in the states.”

Maraya added: “This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity, we got to see things we wouldn’t have been able to without this programme.

“We were able to interact with local people and it was great to have this experience with the RGU nursing students. It’s been good fun learning with them and finding our more about nursing in another country.”

RGU nursing students Clare Mooney (20), Bethanay McGowan (21), Bronwyn Shekyls (23) and Lyndsay Moore (31) also spent two weeks in Knoxville Tennessee at the start of July where they shadowed medical and nursing professionals in hospitals and clinics in the area.

Bethanay said: “One of the biggest differences in nursing between the two countries was the technology used. Nurses in Scotland write in patient notes whereas electronic devices are used for the same job in the US.”

Clare added: “The exchange to the United States was brilliant and really opened my eyes to how nursing works in other parts of the world. We’re very lucky to have had the opportunity and I’m so glad to have made the trip.”

During their exchange, the students were also able to enjoy the local culture in Knoxville as well as join in the Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations.

Jackie Leith, Lecturer and USA coordinator at RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “It has been very positive to see this exchange programme develop over the last three years which benefits our students as well as those from the University of Tennessee.

“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 about the differences between Scotland and the US.
“In addition they have all enjoyed some interesting cultural experiences unique to Aberdeen and Knoxville which has increased their awareness of life in other parts of the world.

“It is has been great to see our own students and clinical staff in a range of settings making such an effort to welcome and host our guests from the US. They have had a great time here in Scotland and we hope they will remember their time with us as their careers develop.”

Release by Maryam Hussain
Communications Office
Press and Media Enquiries