Senior nursing students from San José State University, California visited the Heritage Centre in Kiltyclogher in August 2017
Six senior Baccalaureate students and their two professors visited Counties Leitrim and Sligo for two weeks, in a collaborative project between St Angela’s College, Sligo University Hospital, Markievicz House and the wider community.
The visitors undertook some cultural studies which were enhanced by hospital and community experience.
About 10 years ago, Dr Tamara McKinnon, San Jose State University (SJSU), California expressed an interest in an international relations project, which has been developed and nurtured over time by Kate Bree, Director of Practice Development, Sligo University Hospital and Dr Michele Glacken, Head of Dept of Nursing Studies, Health Sciences and Disability Studies in St Angela’s College.
Over time the international relationship has progressed with Skype calls and visits from Dr McKinnon and her colleague Dr Colleen O’Leary Kelly. In California, nurses meet people with ancestral background from many countries including Ireland and visits enhance and support the development of cultural understanding and therefore enhance nursing practice. This was the focus of the study visit in 2017. Both professors have Irish roots with family connections in Co Donegal and Co Clare.
Since February this year, nursing students from SJSU and St. Angela’s partook in nursing-focused Skype conversations and when SJSU students came to the region, they had clinical placements in Sligo University Hospital organised by Ms. Noreen Casey, Nurse Practice Development Unit, and met with Public Health Nurse, Ms. Flora Dunne, which helped the visitors gain insight into nursing and health care in Ireland. The students visited the community in Kiltyclogher, Co. Leitrim and explored culture and health, to understand the historical influences on life in rural Ireland.
In return the SJSU students shared some of the US nursing practices, in a CPD course on Motivational Interviewing with senior students of St. Angela’s College.
The study visit gave the SJSU students a unique insight into the Irish history and culture in addition to the enjoyment of outstanding beauty of Sligo and Leitrim, with many wishing to return with their families in the future.