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University welcomes exchange students from Israel

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Scottish and Israeli students
The Israeli students with their Scottish student "buddies" from the University of Stirling - from left: Emma Peacock (University of Stirling), Narmin Mustafa (Nazareth), Gillian Fyvie (University of Stirling), Rajaa Hanna (Nazareth), Sarah Smith (University of Stirling), and Rani Odeh (Nazareth).

NURSING students from the Inverness area are teaming up with counterparts from Israel during a summer exchange visit.

Gillian Fyvie, Sarah Smith and Emma Peacock are “buddying” up with three student nurses from Nazareth: Rajaa’ Hanna, Narmin Mustafa and Rani Odeh.

The Arab-Israelis arrived in Scotland on Saturday, and will spend three weeks in the country, based at Raigmore Hopsital in Inverness.

The exchange has been organised by the Highland Campus of the University of Stirling – where the local students are based - in partnership with NHS Highland. Some of the University’s students are expected to take part in a reciprocal visit back to Nazareth in 2014.

Irene Murray, one of the University’s Midwifery teaching fellows, has been working with Dr Amal Khazin, Director of Nursing Education at the Nazareth Hospital in Israel, to set up the exchange.

Irene, who lives in Inverness, served in the Nazareth Hospital for 18 years before taking up her post at the University in Inverness. She said: “I am very much looking forward to welcoming the students from Nazareth, Israel to the Highlands. I hope they will gain much from this visit both professionally and personally.

“Three of our third-year nursing students have volunteered to be ‘buddies’ to the visitors. In turn they will be supported by their mentors who are NHS Highland registered nurses.”

She added: “The Nazareth students have asked for surgical nursing experience. They will not be participating in the delivery of healthcare but are looking forward to observing first-hand a different system of healthcare, discovering how evidence-based practice is integrated and how professionalism is expressed.”

She added that in 2014 University of Stirling nursing students will have the opportunity to engage in a reciprocal placement at the Nazareth Hospital. There they will benefit from cultural insights into the delivery of healthcare within the multicultural, multi-ethnic society of Israel.

Professor William Lauder, Head of the University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, said: “This is a great opportunity for students to share best practice and learn how quality improvement benefits healthcare and patients’ lives in very different locations.  They will be able to develop cross-cultural working and establish contacts which could lead to international partnerships.”

Stephen Loch, NHS Highland Senior Nurse for Education and Training, said: “This is an exciting exchange project which will offer participants a great opportunity to witness nursing practice in a different country. The Nazareth students will get a unique opportunity to learn something about a different system of healthcare, and are particularly interested to find more about surgical nursing care in Scotland. It also offers us a helpful insight and the opportunity to learn from the culture and the experience of the visitors.”

The Nazareth students raised money to cover their trip to Scotland. They are staying in staff accommodation on the Raigmore site, thanks to the financial support of the Stirling Enhancement of Learning Fund (SELF 2013), one of the aims of which is to support ‘Internationalising of the curriculum’. In particular the Fund supports efforts to increase the number of students on international exchange programmes and to ensure an international dimension is promoted in each student group.


* The Nazareth Hospital, based in Nazareth in Northern Galilee, although known locally as ‘The English Hospital’ has strong Scottish connections.  Since 1861 the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society (EMMS) has supported the development of the Hospital and has trained medical personnel to work in needy areas.  In 2004 the EMMS divided into two separate charities: “EMMS International” which supports primary healthcare projects in various parts of the developing World and “EMMS Nazareth”. or “The Nazareth Trust” which owns the  Nazareth Hospital EMMS and the Nazareth School of Nursing.

* The School, which opened in 1924, along with the Hospital, is a distinctively Christian organisation although around 70 per cent of its female students are Moslem. It was the current Director of Nursing Education, Dr Amal Khazin, who initiated this Exchange Project with the aspiration that the experience would “broaden perspectives, change thinking, facilitate acceptance of differences, ‘make peace with others and self’, and increase student motivation to study and  ‘do something different’”. Since her suggestion was made at the end of 2012 her ideas have been taken forward by Irene Murray, Teaching Fellow (Midwifery) on the Highland Campus of the University of Stirling. Irene, who previously served in Nazareth over many years as a midwife, midwifery tutor and in management roles, is eagerly looking forward to re-kindling the ‘Nazareth connection’.

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