Nursing Students to Study Abroad in Ireland

News Story: August 18, 2015

Beginning this month, a new Study Abroad program at Sacred Heart University will begin sending a cohort of nursing students to study in Ireland each semester.

For the fall 2015 semester, seven freshmen from SHU’s College of Nursing will be based at the University’s campus in Dingle, Ireland, and will study science, anatomy and physiology at the nearby Institute of Technology Tralee. A group of sophomore nursing students will follow in the spring. Up to 20 sophomore nursing students will take two nursing courses—health assessment and nursing pathophysiology—along with other courses in spring 2016.

A unique aspect of the program is that it will not delay students from completing their degree as all of the remote studies will be part of the SHU curriculum, says Shery Watson, clinical assistant professor and director of undergraduate nursing.

“Our mission is to teach each of our students to be a well-rounded person, and this is the kind of opportunity that allows that to happen,” Watson says. “They gain a global perspective of not only nursing and health care, but also about the world.”

Courses will be taught mostly by Irish faculty, in addition to at least one SHU professor who will teach abroad each semester. Professors Jerry Reid and Marie Hulme will spend the fall in Ireland. Watson will travel with the program for the first half of the spring semester, followed by John Roney from the History Department.

Watson says the students will also receive clinical experience in Ireland, along with opportunities for weekend trips to supplement the educational and cultural experience of the program. Visits are planned to locations in Dublin and Galway, Ireland, and to London for a tour of the Florence Nightingale Museum.

“In nursing, we need to be culturally competent, because as we’re caring for a population, especially in the United States, we meet all types of patients,” Watson says. “So it’s invaluable for nursing students to interact in a world outside of their comfort zones.”

Watson adds that the Dingle campus and community are an ideal setting for this type of program. “The area lends itself well to studying abroad, because it’s a very safe and nurturing environment,” she says. “The Dingle community embraces Sacred Heart University students. It’s not a big city, it’s a small town, but with lots of opportunities for our students to immerse themselves with Irish nursing students.”