Student nurses' experiences of living and studying in a different culture to their own and the development of cultural sensitivity

Heidi Ruddock

Research output: ThesisMasterResearch

37 Downloads (Pure)


With the increase of culturally diverse people residing in Denmark, it has become imperative to provide student nurses with knowledge and skills that will enable them to become culturally sensitive in order interact effectively with clients from culturally diverse backgrounds. The aim of this study was to explore whether student nurses develop cultural sensitivity as a consequence of living and studying in a culture that is different from their own. Seven Danish student nurses who had participated in student exchanges in Jamaica, Australia, Malta and Greenland took part in this study. A qualitative research methodology based on Gadamer’s hermeneutic philosophy was utilized. Open dialogical in depth interviews were used to collect data. Three horizons emerged from the data analysis. These were experiencing transition from one culture to another, adjusting to cultural differences and developing cultural sensitivity and growing personally.

The international learning experiences as a context for developing cultural sensitivity was characterized by periods of psychological stress in the beginning of the exchange, involvement with the people in the host culture, direct patient contact, personal characteristics of openness and flexibility and support networks facilitated the students transition and adjustment to the host culture. Reflection on their experiences with students from a similar background to themselves and clinical mentors from the host culture assisted the students in their understanding of cultural diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Australia
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2007


  • skills
  • students
  • learning

Cite this