BACKGROUND: Nordic networking of different kinds has a long tradition aiming to increase collaboration and understanding between citizens in different countries. Cultural competence in relation to health care and nursing is important for clinical nurses and is a central issue in nurse education.
OBJECTIVE: To gain an understanding of what nurse students experienced and learned during an intensive course in diabetes together with students and nurse educators from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Faroe Islands.
METHODS: In 2012, an intensive course within the Nordic network, Nordkvist, was conducted in Faroe Islands with the theme "Nursing - to live a good life with diabetes". To answer the objective of the study, 26 students conducted written reflections based on two questions. The data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis.
RESULTS: Through meetings with nurse students and educators from the Nordic countries the intensive course strengthened the students' identification with the nursing profession. The students gained new perspectives on diabetes, such as how complex it can be to live with a chronic illness. Because of the difficulties in understanding one another and because of different mother tongues, the students gained a better understanding of patients' vulnerability in relation to hospital jargon and how it felt to be in an unfamiliar place.
CONCLUSIONS: The intensive course increased the students' personal and professional growth, cross-cultural competence, and their identification with nursing. Students' understanding of health care in the Nordic countries improved as similarities and differences were recognized.
2015. Vol. 35, no 5, 712-717 p.
Cultural competence, Diabetes, Exchange students, Intensive course, Nordic collaboration, Nurse education