5 Ways Global Experiences Make Better Nurses

Haitian children.

UBSON's next global experience will take place in April, when an interdisciplinary team will travel to Galette, Haiti, for a mobile medical mission to care for the area's very underserved population. The team is crowdfunding for support.

In nursing education, faculty recognize the importance of global experiences to enrich the knowledge, understanding and ethical nursing and health care practice of students. Here are five reasons why global experiences in nursing school can help grow better nurses (and health care).


1. Exposure to diverse cultures

  • A global health perspective aims to promote health and equity for all people worldwide.
  • Students gain valuable experience collaborating with various disciplines, including professionals in dental, medical, pharmacy, public health and many other fields.
  • Participants better understand and utilize population-based prevention strategies that account for the unique characteristics of specific populations.

2. Building cultural competency/consciousness

  • By gaining a broad and deep understanding of diverse cultural backgrounds and the ways culture influence beliefs and behaviors, culturally competent health care professionals can take the lead in transforming and improving health care policies, practices and outcomes.
  • Global experiences help increase knowledge about other cultures values, beliefs, and practices – these experiences have a valuable impact on the student’s development of cultural competency.
  • Students who can translate learning from one culture into a broadened perspective will be better prepared to provide care to our increasingly multicultural society.

3. Gaining awareness of global health issues

  • Students experience firsthand the need for global health and the issues related to achieving health equity for all people across the globe. Global health aims to promote health and equity for all people worldwide.
  • Understanding the hardships of the individuals in these cultures is much more meaningful when learned hands-on than could ever be achieved in classroom settings and discussions.
  • Future nursing education and health care depends on the individual’s understanding of differing cultures, economics and political contexts.

“The trouble is that once you see it, you can't unsee it. And once you've seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you're accountable.”
-Arundhati Roy

4. Networking for interdisciplinary and international collaboration

  • Collaboration of disciplines helps students to see the impact of networking and utilizing available resources to improve population-based prevention and individual clinical care.
  • Global experience changes the attitudes of students to increase their want to work with individuals from other cultures. 

5. Perspective, independence, creativity

  • Students learn volumes about priorities and what is truly meaningful in life.
  • Innovating health care requires both critical thinking and creativity. Global experiences allow students the independence to explore their views of culture and grow both their creativity and their nursing skills, enabling them to find innovative ways to meet patients’ needs. 

UBSON's next global experience: Haiti, April 2018

Faculty and students from the University at Buffalo School of Nursing and members of the Buffalo community are traveling to Galette, Haiti to complete a mobile medical mission trip alongside Servants in Fellowship (SIF) ​from April 22-29, 2018. Once there, they will be caring for an extremely underserved and poor population with very limited to no access to health care in a rural area of Haiti.