College of Nursing

Finland/Czech Republic 2016

           

Location
Savonlinna, Finland and Prague, Czech Republic
Time Frame
April 26th to May 25th (4 Weeks)
Clinical Experiences
Finland: Public and Community Health nursing and outlying small communities, hospital and clinical, as well as interactions with Finnish Nursing Students that will occur prior (Skype) and during our visit. Plan is to attend clinical with Finnish nursing students you have had contact with prior to being in-country.
Czech Republic: Military Hospital in Prague – (clinical different units including surgery), Terezin, Lidice, and Medical Spa Karlovy Vary
Other Experiences
Helsinki & Prague historical sites related to cultural experiences.
Outside Trips/Weekend Culture Experiences
Finland: Staying in the historic 100 year old, Sinnetalo "The Blue House" with Finnish physician, Leena Kosmo; Ovalinna Castle, forest walks, cooking, Finnish traditions, swimming (hopefully with accordion player), sauna, Ladies of the Castle Walk/Run, cycling, and cooking.
Czech Republic: Karlovy Vary, Lidice, Terezin, Prague: Castle, Opera House, River Cruise, Churches and hopefully Ballet.
Cost
Approximately $4300 including tuition
Includes ALL expenses: Air flight, trains, local transportation, hostels, admission fees, ferries, rentals, and all meals.

This cultural learning adventure has students traveling between two very different countries, cultures and health care systems. Finland has been ranked very high for healthcare in the European Union countries, especially in the public health arena. Contrastingly in Prague, Czech Republic they have a unique health care system with unique challenges post communism. There is a large focus on the political and social determinants of health with corresponding activities. Scheduled activities for each day. You can expect that the schedule will change as we go through the day (much like life). Flexibility is absolutely essential. You have to be prepared to have your walking shoes on, prepared to work and have fun, and have your eyes and minds open to keep up on this high pace experience. 

Finland Clinical Experiences: Hospital, community clinics, school nursing (different than US), public and community health nursing, and home visits. Finnish nursing students and faculty at Mikkeli University of Applied Science interchange with planned activities and clinical days. 

Reflections:

“I felt that overall being able to stay at Leena's house I was able to realize and become involved in the Finnish culture. From "rinsing" showers and saunas, learning how to waltz in the front room, I really felt that I was able to more fully understand the Finnish lifestyle and try to "live like a Finn" if you will. I loved being able to take time to appreciate the beauty around me, and realize the peace and comfort it brings to enjoy nature and a simpler way of life. It helped me to see that faster and the "American" way isn't always better, and that it is important to note other people's beliefs and concerns when providing health care, because all of those little cultural things really influence the person and their way of life. I hope that I will be able to take into account these cultural aspects and really address my patients' concerns and needs as I am culturally competent in my practice.” -Laura S.

"My attitudes have been changed through so many experiences I’ve had in the Czech Republic and Finland. One of the biggest attitude changes I have had relates to our acceptance of the human body in both Czech Republic and Finland, but more so in Finland. They embrace the human body much more fully than we do. I think that maybe the Finnish practice of sauna contributes a lot to this or maybe their love of the outdoors. They don’t judge shapes and sizes so much in their culture. In our culture you are judged for being 5 lbs overweight. Here you are just accepted for being a person.

I left thinking America had the best healthcare in the world…I went to countries where I actually saw ways that we could improve. I believe there are a lot of health practices that could benefit the United States if we changed. One of the biggest problems I now see with the US healthcare is that we are problem solvers, not people solvers….

In the United States, we are in such a rush all the time that we forget to stop and give people the healing experience. Often times healing is most needed on the heart." -Brooke S.

"Before this trip I assumed the US had the best healthcare in the world. But coming to Finland and learning about some of their techniques really opened my eyes…One example is the role of the school nurse is much more important. The school nurse will do the routine check-up every year. Also, the kids for some reason really trust her/him. They go to them to ask questions about their health or sexual health. There really is a great relationship between them and you can tell the school nurse really loves each of her patients. Seeing this in Finland, changed my attitude and opened my naïve eyes." -Genevieve V.