Nursing Students Visit Scotland in Global Health Exchange
Sixteen College of Nursing students spent two weeks in Scotland this past April on a trip that became an immersion in global health and cultural exchange.
The group arrived in Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, on April 14 and stayed at the University of West Scotland’s Paisley campus. The global learning experience paired students with nurses in different clinical areas so they could get a first-hand look at how nursing care is delivered in the United Kingdom.
This year’s trip included 11 second-degree students and 5 students in the RN to BS program, said Stephen McGhee, DNP, MSC, RNC, FAAN, the college’s director of global affairs.
Dr. McGhee, who accompanies the group each year, said the two sets of students had very different clinical experiences. The handful of RN to BS nursing students were placed with nurse practitioners in various specialties, such as midwifery and obstetrics. The larger group of students saw placements in acute care and mental health hospitals as well as in the community setting, where community nurses, called health visitors, make home visits.
These site visits gave students the chance to see how primary care is provided to families in the U.K., McGhee said.
Throughout the trip, students took turns documenting their experiences on the travel blog.
USF nursing student Rochelle Cloward Lingo said tagging along with community nurses was eye-opening. Once students arrived at Kirklandside Hospital, they were assigned community teams and paired with community nurses who went out to assess neighborhoods.
Lingo’s day included visiting patients with a variety of ailments, ranging from those needing palliative care to others who sought help with injections. The day of observation was patient-focused and enjoyable, and it ended with some meditation and a yoga session with the team of community nurses.
“Overall, the experience was enlightening. There was no rush to get every single task done, but it was more about the patient’s comfort and treatment plan. It was more laid back,” wrote Lingo.
Throughout their trip, students explored Scotland’s historic and cultural landmarks after a day of clinicals. The adventures took them from the Renaissance architecture at Stirling Castle to the 246 steps it takes to reach the top of the National William Wallace Monument.
While in Edinburgh, students toured the city’s rich history. Some hiked up to Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano that offers scenic views 610 feet above the city. Others trekked to the must-see Elephant House, the café where author J. K. Rowling started writing the Harry Potter series.
Toward the end of their visit, the group spent a clinical day visiting the Woodland View Mental Hospital, a facility with 11 wards that treats mental disorders ranging from dementia to addiction to acute mental illnesses and rehabilitation of the elderly.
College of Nursing student Julia Bartmess-Levasseur shadowed a nurse caring for the elderly with dementia. She joined the cognitive stimulation therapy group where the day’s therapy included a lot of singing, dancing, and clapping.
“All the activities were geared toward helping the patients refresh their memory and exercise their abilities to remember things they learned the week before,” wrote Bartmess-Levasseur.
Overall, the day was a first-hand look at psychiatric nursing in Scotland.
“This trip has been an incredible learning experience and we all feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity to work beside the care teams and literally become part with the gang,” she added.
This year’s trip was moved up to April from the traditional summer timetable. McGhee said the annual Scotland global exchange trip will be even earlier next year. It is tentatively scheduled for January 2019 in order to accommodate student schedules in the college’s accelerated upper division nursing program.
Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing