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Making a Difference: International Health Care Mission


The Mission

To improve cultural competency of undergraduate and graduate nursing students by providing an international clinical experience focusing on underserved populations. Benefits includes immersion into diverse cultural experiences, introduction to learning about tropical diseases; introduction to healthcare disparities; partnering with local health care providers and communities

The Partners

Since 2004 University of Tennessee College of Nursing has partnered with International Service Learning (ISL) to provide international clinical experiences for nursing students, serving impoverished, refugee communities in Costa Rica, Peru, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Panama, and Belize. ISL is a U.S.-based educational organization that provides college students opportunities to use their education, skills and passions to assist developing countries in improving health care to individuals and communities.

Aound the worldImpact on UT

This experiential learning opportunity strengthens cultural awareness, health care communication, and hands-on nursing skills, such as assessment and diagnostic reasoning. Students bring back to our college of nursing experiences and knowledge which they share with faculty and fellow students through oral presentations and clinical conferences. Ultimately, the skills gained through this experience enhance the student’s marketability as a professional nurse.

Impact on International and Local Community

The international health care mission builds trust for healthcare personnel among members of the international communities served. Students and faculty supervisors provide on-site primary care, health promotion education, and home visits to community members. These learning activities are designed to not only treat acute illness, but to improve individual and community health through health promotion activities. Our local community benefits by having students who are better able to care for patients of different backgrounds and cultures.

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Click here to read about more Partnerships that Make a Difference.