Internationally educated nursing students’ experiences of integration in the hospital setting

Yolanda Babenko-Mould, Janice Elliott


In North America, internationally educated nurses (IEN) have played an essential role in addressing the nursing shortage as a result of immigration and increasing international recruitment. Given the importance of the IEN role in the delivery of patient care, it is vital that IENs who are involved in educational programs to prepare them for practice in North America are integrated as health care team members. The purpose of this paper is to explore internationally educated nursing students’ experiences of integration in the acute care hospital setting. A qualitative design was used to explore nine IEN students’ experiences of integration in the acute care practice setting. IEN students involved in a bridging educational program in nursing participated in individual interviews lasting 60-90 minutes. Interviews were transcribed verbatim. Researchers engaged in meaning making where initial categories were shaped into themes. Participants expressed having a dual identity as nurse and student, feeling like outsiders and experiencing discrimination in the practice setting, and IENs experienced challenges around discontinuity of relationships, language, and use of technology. IENs also discovered opportunities to learn and grow. To support the meaningful integration of IENs into clinical practice, it is crucial that the academic environment and practice partners ensure IEN students have positive and effective learning experiences where they feel part of the interprofessional team, and can ultimately deliver safe client care.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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