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J Nurs Manag. 2011 Jul;19(5):673-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2011.01221.x. Epub 2011 Mar 29.

Future nurses' cultural competencies: what are their learning experiences during exchange and studies abroad? A systematic literature review.

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Department of Health, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Tampere, Finland.



This article describes the development of cultural competence among nursing students. The focus is on illuminating the learning experiences of nursing students during their exchange.


As the world gets smaller, the demand for culturally competent nurses increases. Future nurses need to be open-minded towards international cooperation and willing to develop the quality of care from a cultural point of view. Nursing education in many countries provides an option for students to learn nursing in different cultures while taking part of their studies abroad.


A systematic literature search was conducted. Inductive content analysis was applied to the data consisting of empirical studies (n=7) describing nursing students' studies abroad.


The process of developing cultural competence among nursing students on exchange was found to consist of three main themes, namely: (1) an increased cultural knowledge base, (2) personal growth and (3) the impact of exchange experiences on the nursing student's own practice.


Studies abroad are a beneficial strategy for the development of future nurses' cultural competence.


Nursing is facing a crucial challenge to recruit culturally competent nurses, because an increasing number of patients are from different cultures. Nurses with experiences of studying abroad can offer employers a resource through their preparedness for culturally competent nursing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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