A phenomenological study of student nurses volunteering in Nepal: have their experiences altered their understanding of nursing?
Bach, KC, Hurley, J & Miller-Rosser, K 2017, 'A phenomenological study of student nurses volunteering in Nepal: have their experiences altered their understanding of nursing?', Collegian, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 339-344.
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Background: Nepal is a small country in the central Himalayas, with approximately 26.5 million inhabitants. Student Volunteer Placements International (SVPI) organise volunteer experiences with the Children’s Welfare Organisation in Nepal (CWON) in the Chitwan region of Nepal. These programs focus on the health of communities of this region. This research was undertaken to uncover the experiences of student nurses (participants) who volunteered as health care workers in Nepal. More specifically, the research explores the effect that the experience of delivering health care within the context of a low socio-economic setting had on the participant’s perceptions of nursing.
Objectives: To gain an insight into how (if at all) the professional identity of student nurses had been impacted through volunteering as health care workers in Nepal. Method: The research used the phenomenological paradigm. Five student nurses, who had volunteered in Nepal as healthcare workers and participated in the CWON/SVPI program for three week intervals, were interviewed. These semi-structured one on one interviews were recorded, the audio was transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.
Results: From the research five emergent themes were derived from the participant’s experiences. Participants reported that the experience of delivering healthcare in the context of a developing country forced them to get creative and ‘think outside the box’.
Conclusion: Engaging in overseas volunteering assisted student nurses to reconnect with their empathy and compassion, and explore the humanistic and interpersonal nature of nursing rather than the technical skill based components of nursing identity. Additionally, the participants were forced to enact their nursing skills to the very boundaries of their capabilities and to be more innovative.