A cohort of University of Stirling nursing students have welcomed their counterparts from Israel as part of a summer exchange programme.
Five students from the University’s Stirling and Highland campuses visited the Nazareth Hospital in the northern Galilee region of Israel in April and are now sharing Scottish culture with students they met during their visit.
Three Highland campus Adult Nursing students, Alexandra Dumitru, Emma Henderson and Schirin Downie, are involved in the exchange; while Mental Health student nurses Robert Murray and Yrla Hill make up the Stirling campus contingent.
During their three-week visit to Israel, the Stirling students were given a number of practical placements in different specialisms, from surgical and A&E to maternity and psychiatric wards; and were exposed to new technologies, including LED thermometers, being used in nursing care in Israel.
Robert Murray said: “The whole experience was one of the best of my life and I did not want to leave. A major factor within this was the people, in particular the Nazareth students. The students and their families made me feel so incredibly welcomed and could not have been more kind and generous. I have made new friendships which I am sure will last a lifetime and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to meet such people.”
Currently in its fourth year, the exchange programme was conceived by Dr Amal Khazin, Director of Nursing Education at the Nazareth Hospital, and set up by Irene Murray, Teaching Fellow in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, who worked in the Nazareth Hospital for 18 years before taking up her post at the University.
Ms Murray said: “International nursing exchange programmes are an excellent way to help students observe a different system of healthcare and increase awareness of how professional and social influences shape the delivery of health care. The experience opens eyes to variations in the expression of professionalism, the integration of evidence-based care and the implementation of quality improvement.
“A 360 degree exchange visit this year has allowed Scottish and Israeli students to forge strong relationships which has allowed them to learn so much more about each other’s countries, cultures and health care systems. The University of Stirling students have now welcomed the Israeli students to Scotland and have a chance to share what life - and nursing - is like in Scotland.”
The Israeli cohort is accompanied by one of the teachers in the Nazareth School of Nursing, Mr Kamal Dahamsheh.
Mr Dahamsheh has been impressed with the welcome the group has received, as well as the organisation of nursing services, personal nature of nursing care and multidisciplinary collaboration at Raigmore Hospital.
He said: “This exchange project offers students the opportunity to engage in experiences that will change thinking, attitudes and beliefs for the remainder of their lives. It will encourage reflection and assist them to think ‘outside the box’ in terms of professional, clinical and cross-cultural aspects of nursing care. It will offer opportunities to question their knowledge-base for practice and introduce them to another ‘world view’, opening up new perspectives on healthcare provision as well as many aspects of life in general.”
The Nazareth Student Exchange Project is funded by a reciprocal arrangement and is expected to run for the next three years until the provision of nursing education in Inverness is expected to be fully transferred from the University of Stirling to the University of Highlands and Islands.