Developing as a person: How international educational programs transform nurses and midwives.

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Jacqueline Johnston
Lisa McKenna
Gulzar Malik
Sonia Reisenhofer


international educational program, global learning, grounded theory, midwife, nurse, transformative learning


Objective: To determine impact of undertaking an international educational program during a nurse’s or midwife’s pre-registration program on subsequent practice, focusing on how nurses and midwives were transformed personally through participation in such programs.

Background: Participation in international educational programs has been reported to enhance nursing and midwifery students’ personal and professional development, however long-term impacts remain unclear. This paper presents findings drawn from a larger grounded theory study.

Study design and Methods: Charmaz’s grounded theory methodology was used to elicit experiences from 13 general nurses, two mental health nurses, three midwives and four dual qualified nurse/midwives across eight different countries. Data analysis led to the creation of three categories, with this paper reporting on the category of Developing as a Person.

Findings: Participation in international educational programs can be transformative for nurses and midwives with long-lasting impacts, contributing positively to their personal growth and development.

Discussion: The study findings underscore significant long-term impacts of international educational programs for nurses and midwives. These outcomes highlight the importance of incorporating international experiences into healthcare education.

Conclusion: By providing opportunities for healthcare professionals to engage with diverse settings and populations, organisations and educational institutions can foster the development of well-rounded and globally competent practitioners.

Implications for research, policy, and practice: The study's findings hold significant implications for research, policy, and practice in healthcare education. To deepen our understandings, additional longitudinal research across diverse countries is warranted. Policymakers have an opportunity to acknowledge the positive impact of these programs on the personal growth and development of nurses and midwives, potentially leading to the integration of global competency requirements into licensure programs. In order to provide comprehensive education, educational institutions should consider the inclusion of study abroad opportunities, cultural exchanges, and global clinical placements within nursing and midwifery curricula.

What is already known about the topic?

  • International educational programs are widely used as a way of developing nursing and midwifery students’ cultural understandings.

  • Previous studies have reported on short-term impacts of international educational programs.

What this paper adds:

  • Long-term impacts of participation in an international educational program on nurses and midwives are described.

  • Personal development and subsequent transformations occur for nurses and midwives as a result of participation in international educational programs.

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