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J Nurs Educ. 2006 Oct;45(10):412-9. doi: 10.3928/01484834-20061001-06.

Bittersweet knowledge: the long-term effects of an international experience.

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University of North Dakota, College of Nursing, Nursing Building, Room 313, 430 Oxford Street, Stop 9025, Grand Forks, ND 58202-9025, USA.


Although many schools of nursing are offering international experiences for students, there has been minimal research that demonstrates a link between what students experience in these international programs and the subsequent long-term effects on their personal and professional lives as nurses. The purpose of this descriptive qualitative study was to describe the effects of an international nursing student experience on participants' later personal and professional lives. The participants were 6 nurses who had completed a student international experience in Guatemala 2 years prior. Data collection methods included individual written narratives and a focus group. The overarching theme of the experience was that the participants had gained "Bittersweet Knowledge." Three themes supported this over-arching theme: "Coming to Understand" represented the positive side of the experience, "Unsettled Feelings" represented the uncomfortable side of the experience, and "Advocating for Change" represented the ongoing response to the experience.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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