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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Perspectives on global health in nursing education Symenuk, Paisly Michele


Over the past two decades, global health has emerged in higher education as significant focus. While global health has been strongly influenced and shaped by the dominance of biomedicine, nursing education has and continues to engage with global health in a diversity of ways. Research about global health in contemporary nursing education is largely limited to examining the experiences and outcomes of learners engaging in specific educational programming. Extant nursing literature also explores competencies and learning outcomes in global health in nursing education and usually only includes the perspectives of faculty or other experts. There remains a significant gap in studies that explore the ways in which global health is understood and/or operationalized within nursing education. Increased understandings are important to inform the expansion or pluralism of how global health is framed within nursing teaching and learning opportunities. To begin to address some of the gaps, a single, exploratory case study design was used to examine undergraduate nursing students and nursing educators’ perspectives on global health. Focus groups were held with eleven nursing students and individual interviews were conducted three educators. Organizational documents were also examined to gain a robust understanding of the context of the case. Findings suggest that perspectives on global health by nursing students and educators are diverse and expansive. Three major themes emerged from participants including: 1) how global health is viewed as focusing on place, populations, people, and problems, 2) how unmet needs and systems of power are the root of health inequities, and 3) how participants located themselves as having a role in global health. This study’s implications include the need to revisit how nursing considers the politics and systems of health and the environment. Additionally, nursing must also consider how nursing students and educators locate themselves in global health practice. This study serves as first step for further research that more robust and intensive explores perspectives on global health in nursing in an effort to pluralize the ways in which global health is included in education.

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