Dr. Susan Eley

International Travel:
The Luck of the Irish and the Skill of a Sycamore DNP

May 2019 provided an opportunity for the Department of Advanced Practice Nursing (APN) faculty to accompany undergraduate nursing students to the United Kingdom (U.K.) and Ireland for identification of collaborative opportunities for masters and doctoral students.  Dr. Susan Eley, a Full Professor and faculty member in the Department of Advanced Practice Nursing, teaches course in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program and Family Nurse Practitioner concentration in the MSN program at Indiana State.  Dr. Eley traveled to the U.K. and Countryside in IrelandIreland searching for unique student experiences that could broaden the horizons of Sycamore graduate students.  

Opportunities to establish clinical and research partnerships for masters and doctoral degree seeking students were explored.  Learn International provided coordination of the trip with experiences in London ranging from touring the Red Cross and Florence Nightingale museums to a community health walking tour.  Participants gained insight into past and present health conditions related to environmental pollutants found in the air and water sources located in and around London.  A tour of the St. Thomas the Apostle surgical operatory museum detailed care of the vulnerable and

marginalized female residents of London during the early 1800s; the operatory was originally created to avoid doing operations in the women’s ward. Lack of anesthesia and understanding of germ theory contributed to the lethality of surgical procedures during that time. Interestingly, it is Sheep in the Irish Countrysidethe only surviving operating theater in Europe.  

Leaving London for Dublin and traveling to Northern Ireland and County Donegal provided students and faculty with hands-on experience in a community-based clinic in the small rural town of Gweedore.

The Ionad Naomh Pádraig clinic offers a variety of services for the community. The role of the nurse practitioner is somewhat limited; however, the community has midwife and mental health nurse providers.  Focus on the care of the citizens in the community offers a rich opportunity for collaboration and partnerships with university health science students and nursing students.  A unique role for a nurse in Ireland was that of a social prescriber.  The social prescriber was able to assist community members in navigating resources within the area to help meet their psychosocial needs.  Additionally the social prescriber nurse provided referrals for residents with unmet needs and assisted in identifying opportunities to assist residents in maintaining or improving health through establishing connectedness.  Dr. Eley stated that “students who desire a global health experience and to expand their expertise in education, administration or clinical practice should seek out a faculty-led international travel opportunity. The experience forever influences the student and imprints memories of people and places that will impact their practice.”  The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Indiana State plans to incorporate international travel into their Culturally Competent Care course to provide students with the opportunity to experience other cultures and view health care from a new perspective.