The paper examines the effectiveness of
Skype as a medium for communication,
support and internationalisation of student nurse programmes. The researchers
sought to examine whether online face to
face contact via Skype improved support
and communication with students nursing overseas and if the use of Skype for online
communications with students in action le
arning sets within the home university,
developed cultural awareness of those nur
sing students who stayed on native soil.
The study comprised of focus groups and online questionnaires of staff and students.
22 students were included in the study, 18 who had experienced physical mobility and
4 who had experienced virtual mobility. 12 lect
urers also contributed in their role as
a personal tutor, module team member or international link lecture for the countries
in which the students visited.
4 themes arose from the thematic analysis
(Braun and Clarke’s (2006) 6 stage model)
of the narratives of the participants and included operational issues, pastoral care,
academic and peer support and cultural awareness and development.
The use of Skype was found to be extremely beneficial in terms of online
communication and support for students undertaking an international placement.
However the development of cultural awareness needs further work, using Skype to
engage students abroad in discussions with students in action learning sets did allow
students at home to take into account social and cultural differences between
practices in England and the country their
peer was on placement, it did not however
allow examination of their own beliefs, biases
and prejudices to practice skills of self
awareness as would occur in students who experienced international mobility