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Keywords:

  • international education;
  • international service learning;
  • nursing education;
  • reflection

Abstract

Objective

To examine the impact of an international service learning experience (ISL) using a quantitative and qualitative approach.

Design and Sample

A descriptive study was used to explore the impact of an ISL experience on global awareness, professional and personal growth with 11 baccalaureate nursing students in the Dominican Republic.

Intervention

Students participated in a three credit ISL program in the Dominican Republic which included pre- and postexperience seminars and a 2-week, on-site immersion experience.

Measures

The International Education Survey (IES) was used as the quantitative measure. Content analysis of Critical Reflective Inquiry (CRI) narratives was used as the qualitative method.

Results

Students reported a high overall impact (M = 5.9) using the IES with high means for the Professional Student Nurse Role (M = 6.10, SD: 0.74), Personal Development (M = 6.08, SD: 0.76), International Perspectives (M = 6.03, SD: 0.71), and a lower mean for Intellectual Development (M = 5.40, SD: 0.69). CRI narratives revealed specific areas of impact, for example, increased empathy and ability to communicate effectively with patients from life situations very different from their own.

Conclusions

Further exploration of the usefulness of various evaluation tools and methodological designs is warranted to understand this type of pedagogy and its' impact on student learning outcomes short- and long-term.