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Since partnering with Health First and a recent recruitment of faculty members, UCF College of Nursing continues to expand by offering two new study abroad programs for the first time to both nursing and pre-nursing students for summer 2016.

Associate professors and coordinators of the programs, Dr. Laura Gonzalez and Kim Dever will lead students to Yucatán, Mexico, and London, England, where they will learn about the country’s health care system and its history of nursing while also earning college credit.

Gonzalez, along with associate professor Dr. Bernardo Ramirez from the College of Health and Public Affairs, will take students on an eight-day trip from June 28 to July 6 to Yucatán, Mexico, where they will visit the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, local museums and hospitals, and clinics both in rural and urban areas.

“I want my nurses to be global citizens and to understand different cultures,” Gonzalez said. “When caring for a patient, it is important for them to take into consideration the patient’s ethnic and cultural background. This is how we provide culturally competent care.”

Similarly, Dever will implement this same concept with students she takes to London, England, from May 14 to May 24. Destinations will include Florence Nightingale’s museum, the Royal College of Nursing and the London Red Cross.

“For me, this is a 33-year-old dream. I wanted to do this type of trip when I was an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh. I have always been interested in Great Britain’s health care system,” she said.

Dr. Mary Lou Sole, dean of the college, agrees that the opportunity to explore another culture will help students be culturally competent, but that it will also give them a new perspective on healthcare.

“One of UCF’s five goals is to provide international focus to our curricula and research programs. In the past two years, we focused on identifying study abroad opportunities for our students to enhance their awareness and understanding of global healthcare,” Sole said. “These programs will immerse students in cultures of two different countries and broaden pre-nursing and nursing students’ perspectives on healthcare.”

These are the first programs in more than nine years to be offered by the College of Nursing.

In 2006, the last study abroad to Sweden was led by associate professor Ermalynn Kiehl, and only nursing students were eligible to enroll.

Applications for both programs can be found on the UCF study abroad website and are due no later than Feb. 1, 2016.

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Ivanna Alayon is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.

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