Australian Nursing Students Study at NHS This Fall

Posted in GUMC Stories

Three nursing students from two universities in Australia are studying this semester at Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies.

Edwina Turner and Stephanie Heard are undergraduates at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney, and Sharne Stacey attends Curtin University of Technology in Perth. All are taking courses through the bachelor’s program in the school’s Department of Nursing.

“It’s incredible here,” Heard said. “I often feel like I’m in a movie. I think one of my favorite things has to be the sense of community on campus and the campus pride.”

New Experiences

The students agree that they wanted to study in the United States to get a better perspective on a different health care system.
“I decided to do a study abroad program because I wanted to challenge myself, try something new, and see a different part of the world,” Stacey said. “It will be good to learn about how a different health care system works and then be able to compare the similarities and differences to the health care system I am used to.”

The students are collectively taking a variety of courses, including ethics, quality, and decision making in health care; public health nursing; mental health nursing; introduction to nursing research; nursing care of children with physiological alterations; and complex nursing problems.

Similarities and Differences

Students noted that there are some differences between Georgetown and their programs back home – mostly around assignment types, the sequence of the curriculum, and the structure of clinical education.

However, they said the similarities outweigh those differences.
“The curriculum itself in Australia is fairly similar to the education at Georgetown with the same skill set taught – in a slightly different order – and same emphasis put on holistic patient and family-centered care,” said Stacey.

Toward the Future

After completing their nursing degrees, the students are planning to follow different paths. Stacey, who grew up in a rural town, is considering remote area nursing and health promotion. Heard plans to go in to medicine. And Turner is considering clinical psychology.

For now, the three are enjoying the experience at Georgetown and in Washington, D.C.

“I wanted to come because it was the first opportunity for me to come overseas to study,” said Turner. “I wanted to learn how different health care systems operated and to experience university in America. The experience has been phenomenal. I’ve loved every minute of my time at Georgetown so far. I’m still finding my feet, but I’m definitely going to be very sad to leave at the end of the year.”

Added Heard: “Hopefully, I will be here for Christmas, and it snows. I’ve never seen a white Christmas.”

By Bill Cessato, NHS Communications

(Published Oct. 3, 2012)