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Release: Aug. 23, 1999

UI nursing students study abroad in England

NOTE TO EDITORS: Receipt of this release indicates that a University of Iowa student from your area participated in the UI College of Nursing's study abroad program this summer; a list of participants follows at the end of this release.

IOWA CITY, Iowa--England--the home of Florence Nightingale and birthplace of modern nursing--was inspiring to Sarah Upton, one of three University of Iowa nursing students who went there for three weeks as part of the UI College of Nursing's study abroad program.

The students and M. Patricia Donahue, Ph.D., UI professor of nursing, joined 5,000 nurses from around the world at the International Council of Nurses Centennial Conference in London June 27-30. During their stay the group also visited Taunton in southwest England, where they observed clinical work at Saint Margaret Hospice and accompanied public health nurses on home visits.

The experience in and around Taunton provided the students with insight into England's 50-year-old National Health Service. Home visits are "a bigger part of their system, compared to ours," Upton said, and give nurses the opportunity to do well-baby checkups, change wound dressings, and provide follow-up care after clinical procedures.

According to Donahue, nursing in England is in a transitional phase as members of the profession consider its future. For instance, she said, a consensus is emerging to institute more advanced degrees and specialty training programs like those at American universities. "Nurses in England are in the prime position, like the United States, and they are moving toward greater achievements," Donahue said.

Economic, social and practice issues in nursing dominated the agenda of the International Council of Nurses convention. Participants attended speeches and workshops on a wide variety of topics, including world health and disease, health care reform, care of the young and the elderly, and the impact of technology on health care.

But the Iowa group was perhaps equally impressed by the pageantry of the occasion marking the international organization's centennial. The opening ceremony took place in London's Albert Hall and featured indoor fireworks, while Princess Anne, a member of the royal family, gave the convention's closing remarks. Upton explained the convention's inspirational aspect, noting that "all these nurses come together because they're so proud of their profession."

The theme of internationalism underlying the London conference resonates at home as well. "Health care is becoming so global that we can no longer talk about individual health care systems," Donahue said.

The following individuals, listed by hometown, participated in the College of Nursing's study abroad program:


NEW LONDON: Sarah M. Upton

STORY CITY: Meghan L. McGonigal