With the current state of our country’s healthcare system and it unknown changes, Nebraska Wesleyan University’s nursing professors looked to valuable teaching opportunities for their undergraduate and graduate nursing students.
“Our healthcare system is in a state of flux with many opinions as to how we should deliver care to all people in our country,” said Molly Fitzke, professor and director of NWU’s nursing programs.
Among the teaching moments was an opportunity to lead the program on its first study abroad trip to London.
“The goal was to allow students to explore and gain in-depth knowledge on the UK's National Health Service (NHS) and evaluate how their system compares to the healthcare system of the United States,” she said.
In June, students traveled to London where they toured the Florence Nightingale Museum and attended lectures about the NHS. They also visited St. Joseph’s Health Care, met with nursing faculty from Anglican Ruskin University of Nursing and toured the Royal College of Nursing.
Students learned the U.K.’s NHS — though different than our own — shares similar struggles.
“Healthcare and the financial coverage for it is just as much a challenge in England as it is here in the United States,” said Alice Osborn who will finish her MSN degree in December.
Traveling to England helped biology major Hale Breit solidify his career goals.
“This trip taught me that the structure of a healthcare system has a drastic impact on the quality of care that patients receive,” said the senior from Lincoln. “I already knew that I wanted to be a healthcare professional, but now I want to be involved in shaping it for the better once I enter the field.”
Fellow MSN student Robin Carlson also participated on the trip. Carlson has been a nurse for 38 years and enjoyed sharing the experience with NWU’s undergraduate students.
“My experience was enriched because of the varied ages and backgrounds of our group from Wesleyan,” said Carlson. “I am proud of the newest generation of nurses. They are intelligent and insightful and devoted to the care of people.”
Likewise, the undergraduates valued the opportunity to learn with graduate students.
“Working with grad students was an amazing experience. It was almost like having multiple professors along with me. They got me up to speed on many of the topics that were discussed in lectures and workshops during the trip, as they were far more knowledgeable in the area,” said junior Noah Kapustka, a biology and psychology double major from Roca. “They were always happy to discuss my future along with the ups and downs of different fields within the medical industry. Many of these grad students I would now call my friends, and I learned so many valuable life lessons.”
Carlson and Osborn had already planned to travel to England in celebration of their upcoming graduation.
“When this trip came up we decided it was too good to pass up because we could travel with a group and feel safer,” said Osborn. “We also had the opportunity to go into hospitals and nursing colleges that we wouldn’t have if we travelled on our own.”
“We both love NWU and have a dream of someday being faculty,” Osborn continued. “So this seemed like a great opportunity to experience this as a student and then be able to share that experience with future nursing students.”
Both nurses agreed that the trip offered a unique cultural experience. Carlson, a medical staff nurse liaison for the Nebraska Spine Hospital said the trip “reminded me that the world is a big place and I really have only experienced a microcosm of it.”
Osborn, a NICU nurse at CHI Health Creighton University-Bergan Mercy agreed. As a future nurse educator, she will use this experience with her students.
“In nursing, we are given the opportunity to be a part of many people’s lives and many times that means people from other cultures,” she said. “Anytime you can step outside the box and learn something new it is a valuable experience that someday you will draw upon for the benefit of someone else.”
Story by Emmalie Harris, public relations intern.