US exchange broadens students’ horizons

From left:  Megan Walls, Ashley Epperly, Madeline Lopez, Rhea Halley, Jessica James-Schulz, Chelsea Smith, Jackie Leith (RGU lecturer), Carrie Bailey (UTK lecturer), Laura Foubister, Leanna Will (RGU lecturer), Ashley Snaddon
From left: Megan Walls, Ashley Epperly, Madeline Lopez, Rhea Halley, Jessica James-Schulz, Chelsea Smith, Jackie Leith (RGU lecturer), Carrie Bailey (UTK lecturer), Laura Foubister, Leanna Will (RGU lecturer), Ashley Snaddon

Nursing students from Robert Gordon University (RGU) and University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK) have taken part in an international exchange programme this summer to learn more about their profession across the Atlantic Ocean.

The transatlantic initiative between RGU and UTK is in its fourth year and has been forged to allow students to benefit from exchanging clinical, academic and cultural experiences.

American students Ashley Epperly (21), Madeline Lopez (21), Jessica James-Schulz (21) and Chelsea Smith (21) made their visit to Aberdeen at the end of July.

During their time in the north-east, they enjoyed a programme of nursing, academic and social activities, led by students and staff at RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Ashley Epperly, who observed surgery at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, said: “It’s interesting that you get to specialise at the beginning of nursing school here, while back home we all study the same general course that gives us a bit of mental health, paediatrics and everything, before choosing where to go after school.”

Chelsea Smith said: “The students here also get a lot more clinical exposure than we do, but we get more classroom exposure, so there’s a good give-and-take on that.”

Madeline Lopez added: “We’ve also been talking about how good the handwashing guidance and hygiene technique is in Scotland. We want to take it back with us for when we go into practice.”

The US students visited a number of local sights, guided by their RGU counterparts, culminating in a trip away to Edinburgh to visit the castle and the Dungeons.

Meanwhile, RGU nursing students Ashley Snaddon (24), Megan Walls (23), Laura Foubister (21) and Rhea Halley (19), spent two weeks in Knoxville earlier in July, where they shadowed medical and nursing professionals in hospitals and clinics in the area.

During their stay, the students were also able to enjoy the local culture in Knoxville, as well as join in the Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations.

All of the students self-funded their trips and the exchanges were fully facilitated by lecturers at both universities. It is the latest link between the north-east and UTK, which also has exchange partnerships with RGU’s School of Creative and Cultural Business and School of Applied Science.