JOURNAL ARTICLE

Evaluation of an innovative nursing exchange programme: health counselling skills and cultural awareness

Regina L T Lee, Samantha M C Pang, Thomas K S Wong, M F Chan
Nurse Education Today 2007, 27 (8): 868-77
17254670

BACKGROUND: In 2006, a two-week summer exchange programme was conducted for nursing students from 15 institutes and/or universities, including places in Taiwan, Macau, Chinese mainland and Hong Kong.

AIM: This paper evaluates a summer exchange programme focusing on nursing students' professional and personal development within the context of learning health counselling skills and studying cultural aspects of the host Region.

METHOD: The programme was evaluated using a mixed method of both quantitative and qualitative research design. Three dimensions include students' exchange perspective, professional development and personal development were evaluated at the end of the two-week programme. Data for this evaluation were derived from the results of questionnaires completed by the 64 nursing students enrolled in this programme, and from the analysis of five focus group interviews.

FINDINGS: Overall, students (98%) reported that they were very positive about their experiences during the programme, and felt they had gained a greater awareness of effective health counselling skills, of the latest developments in advanced nursing technology within the host School, and of cultural diversity in relation to their personal and professional development. Comparison of sub-total mean scores and standard deviations (mean+/-SD) of the three dimensions among students from Taiwan, Chinese mainland and Hong Kong/Macau, revealing significant differences in the exchange perspective (Taiwan: 18.6+/-1.4; Chinese mainland: 18.8+/-1.4; and Hong Kong/Macau: 16.5+/-1.1) professional development (Taiwan: 18.4+/-1.6; Chinese mainland: 18.2+/-1.5; and Hong Kong/Macau: 16.2+/-2.0) and personal development dimensions (Taiwan: 18.9+/-1.0; Chinese mainland: 18.6+/-1.4; and Hong Kong/Macau: 17.3+/-1.1) among these three places (p<0.001). For paired comparison (post-hoc test), the findings also show that the sub-total mean scores of the students from Taiwan and Chinese mainland were significantly higher than those of students from Hong Kong and Macau in the exchange perspective (Taiwan versus Hong Kong/Macau, p<0.001; Chinese mainland versus Hong Kong/Macau, p<0.001), professional development (Taiwan versus Hong Kong/Macau, p=0.001; Chinese mainland versus Hong Kong/Macau, p<0.001), and personal development (Taiwan versus Hong Kong/Macau, p<0.001; Chinese mainland versus Hong Kong/Macau, p=0.002).

CONCLUSION: Although the findings cannot be generalized, the programme evaluation highlights the positive impact on one's exchange perspective and professional and personal development of a culturally integrated exchange programme for nursing students, with emphasis on skill practices and cultural diversity.

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