Internationlaisation of higher education: A basic understanding – A nursing perspetive

I am currently undertaking an online module ‘Globalisation and internationalisation of Higher Education’ as part of an extra credit award scheme at my university. Having spent time abroad studying I have developed a new found passion and interest in the globalisation and internationlisation of education and more specifically nurse education and healthcare. Norway was a very interesting experience and my study while I was out there considering the similarities and differences between my education and theirs, has supplied this interest with its driving force and first acknowledgement of its presence in my profession.

One of the things we have been asked to do is write a blog post about what we understand about internationalisation in higher education so far. It is only supposed to be 200 words max in length so the writing below will outline this, however there is a very great chance that I will continue to babble and consider other options afterwards. I have never been very adapt to concise writing. My lecturers could tell you that in a flash.

So what do I understand about the internationalisation of higher education?

First of all what is internationlistion? Knight (2004) defined it as the ‘process of integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into the functions and delivery of post-secondary education’ After further reading I have begun to understand how international, intercultural and global dimensions influence my university and course and will use this as a reflection.

In terms of international this would be study abroad programs for instance. Our course has a specific elective placement element where students are encouraged to go all over the world to experience nursing in a different context. I chose my university based on the fact that it offered this as not all institutions do, and I felt that it was a vital element to be part of my training. Regarding intercultural, we have a lot of cultural teaching which is seen as an essential element to our course. Our professions in based on caring for those from all different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs an countries. We are a multi-national nation and by default our profession training is intercultural centered because that is a part of what we do. On a global scale, my institution is part of a network called Universitias 21, a global network for leading research institutions which has a health sciences collaboration. Being part of this, students on my course have the opportunity to take part in working/studying/attending conferences abroad including 4 weeks in Nepal to carry out health education programs and nurse education conferences in Dublin and China.

Although I knew the above before starting this module, I had not put it into context about what the above was actually about and the bigger picture that this fits into. Considering all of this, I would say at a very foundation level that my course is quite internaitonliased in its delivery already and compared to other institutions offering nursing courses, rather far out in front.

That is defiantly my 200 words done and a few more. The rest is an trail running of thought processes about what influences internationalisation of higher education, and some attempt at looking at how my course and nursing fits into this….

I have begun to realise that there are many factors that drive HE institutions to be more internationliased. There is;political ‘soft power’, the academic preparation of students being more prepared to be able to work in an international capacity (the movement of the nursing workforce is high, so preparation in your pre registration years is valuable, and it helps you to understand the wider context of nursing), social and cultural – this I feel is more personal, so it allows for a great deal of professional and personal development. The final one is economic which I feel is the one you have to be most careful of that it doesn’t begin to dominate the reasons behind HE institutions becoming more internationlised. Things like research funding and increased revenue from international campuses are a big driving factor. You cannot underestimate the importance of research, as the most recent REF publication has shown (my own institutions impact factor is very high regarding nursing and allied health professions = more money and status).

I do not have the knowledge and more in-depth understanding of these issues yet to fully understand how these can relate to nursing and how the can and do impact on the profession. This is something that I hope to be able to explore further and see how this can fit in with the globalisation of nurse education. There are many other issues to explore and discuss, and internationlisation is certainly more complicated that I have expressed, but I feel this can give a basic outline of the principle and the starting point of its relation to nursing and nurse education.