EHECADI project celebrates International Nurses Day through the eyes of a student nurse
On 12th May people around the world celebrate International Nurses Day, marking the contributions that nurses make to society. As part of the celebrations, the EHECADI project has spoken to a student nurse, to find out more about their path towards becoming a nurse, and the societal challenges that are influencing their studies and future profession.
Funded by the Erasmus+ programme, the European Health Care Final Dissertation (EHECADI) project will support healthcare students from different disciplines (nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and human nutrition and dietetics) to address broad societal health issues such as healthcare equity, epidemic preparedness, underinvestment in healthcare workers or the health needs of migrant populations.
In this interview the partners spoke to Clàudia Ferragut López, a 4th year nursing student at the University of Vic- Central University of Catalonia (UVIC-UCC).We spoke to her about her experiences of studying in the field of healthcare and heard her thoughts on what nursing courses must do to equip their students with the right skills to face today’s societal challenges.
Can you tell us more about the course that you are studying? Have you decided to specialise in a particular field?
I am currently in the 4th year of my nursing studies, and I have decided to specialise in caring for critically ill patients. I am enrolled in a Masters of critically ill patient care, which will start next September. In addition to this, from July I will work in an intensive care unit (ICU).
If you don’t mind telling us, for what reasons did you decide to become a nurse?
For me, health is the most important thing in life. Everyone wants to be healthy, and I think no one likes to feel sick. This degree gave me the specific knowledge to know how our bodies work, what is good or bad for them and how to take care of people when they are not feeling their best. So finally, I became a nurse, not only to share my knowledge with people who haven’t had the opportunity to study this great degree, but also to encourage them to take care of themselves and learn the basic principles of health.
How has your journey to becoming a nurse so far? Have there been any particular challenges? Or particularly rewarding aspects?
It has been challenging. First of all, you have to develop emotional intelligence. It’s common to find yourself involved in difficult and unfair situations, where you cannot change the evolution of the patient, but you can accompany him or her in order to provide the best attention you can. Moreover, you have to be able to separate your job from your personal life and not bring your work home.
On the other hand, there are so many rewarding aspects. Most of the patients are so grateful for your work and will remember you forever. You feel very satisfied with the effort made, which is never in vain.
We see a lot of changes in our societies today, for example, moving on from the pandemic, the war on Ukraine and increasing refugees in Europe, climate change and the digitalisation of society. Which changes do you think will influence you in your future work the most?
I think nurses need to evolve and reinvent themselves all the time as it’s a profession that responds to the needs of the society. But the biggest thing that will influence me in my future will be the overload of information that patients are now at risk of. Nowadays, you can find almost everything on Google, but not all the information is valid. It will be tricky to explain to the patient what is best for them according to scientific evidence, when he or she has already searched for a thousand results on how to treat their illness in forums, where non-medical staff write about unsuitable and unfounded treatments.
Do you feel like your current studies have helped to prepare you for these current challenges/changes?
I think so. In these times, teachers are so focused on effective therapeutic communication, and they teach us how to manage several situations. I can’t remember of talking about this specific topic, but they do offer us the knowledge to work on it.
The EHECADI project will work to develop a course for healthcare students, including student nurses, to have a better understanding of societal needs and be able to increase their employability. In your opinion which key aspects should the course include?
In my opinion, it’s essential to talk about new technologies and how they affect the physical and mental health of the population. People are unaware of the implications of technological advances and the negative impact that their misuse can cause.
Encouraging a global mindset and international cooperation between teaching institutions and students is a core aim of the EHECADI project. Why do you think that international cooperation is important in your study and profession?
Afterall, even if the health system differs from country to country, we are all aiming for the same goal; to offer the patient the best care adapted to his or her situation. I believe that as health professionals, we must be open to consider new options and ways of doing things in order to evolve as professionals. By sharing our knowledge globally, we can compare and even expand it, reflecting on new ways of acting that we would never have thought of.
To find out more about the European Health Care Final Dissertation (EHECADI) project, you can vist the project webpage here. To find out more about the nursing course of the University of Vic, click here.