• Civil War Consequences;
  • Cross-Cultural Encounter;
  • Dialogue;
  • International Committee of the Red Cross;
  • Nursing;
  • Sharing of Knowledge;
  • South Sudan

TJOFLÅT I. & KARLSEN B. (2012) Challenges in sharing knowledge: reflections from the perspective of an expatriate nurse working in a South Sudanese hospital. International Nursing Review

Aim:  This account, based on the experience of the first author, aims to describe an example of practice from a hospital in South Sudan. The example illustrates a cross-cultural encounter and the challenges that a Sudanese nurse and an expatriate nurse face in sharing knowledge when providing patient care.

Content:  The constructed practical example between nurses with different knowledge bases and experiences was characterized by the expatriate nurse giving her instructions and not allowing the Sudanese nurse to respond to them. This ‘one-way’ communication demonstrated that the expatriate nurse considered herself to have the better knowledge of nursing care. These aspects of the encounter formed the basis for the following discussion, which sheds light on how the expatriate nurse ideally could have worked by using a dialogue instead of one-way communication. The importance of having knowledge and understanding of the context in cross-cultural encounters was also emphasized.

Conclusions:  The discussion of this practical example can provide insight for other nurses when working in cultures other than their own into the importance of using a dialogue when sharing knowledge in a cross-cultural encounter. In addition, expatriates can be made aware of the importance of acquiring knowledge about the context for ‘the other’ when working cross culturally. Finally, it should be noted that the description and discussion of the experience reflect only the perspective of the expatriate nurse.