Anyone Done a Nursing Cultural Exchange?

  1. My husband is from Turkey, and we are looking to visit the in-laws next spring. Hubby's cousin is a doc in a hospital in Istanbul (I think Istanbul), pretty high up the food chain. I'd like to arrange a nursing cultural exchange of some sort ... where I go and learn what the nurses there do, how it's different or similar, and do some presentations at my facility and at the nursing school I graduated from. I'd also like to interact with the Turkish nurses, and do a similar presentation which shows the role of American nurses while I was there.

    There are, of course, many complicating factors. As my husband explained it (and he's not even a nurse), the nursing role in Turkey is very different from ours. There is also a predominately Muslim population, and the cultural influence of that population. Furthermore, traditional gender roles are more strictly "enforced". I'd love to tour and learn about the hospital with my hubby's cousin (the doc), but really what I'd like to do is learn about what the nurses do and work with them and learn what their roles are like.

    I'm curious if anyone's ever done a similar "cultural exchange"? It seems we really could learn a lot from one another - being nurses in different cultures.
    Last edit by NursingAgainstdaOdds on Oct 5, '07
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    About NursingAgainstdaOdds

    Joined: May '07; Posts: 460; Likes: 347
    ER Nurse
    Specialty: 2 year(s) of experience in Med-Surg/Tele, ER


  3. by   KateRN1
    Hi, sorry for the lateness of this response, but I just found your post doing a keyword search on Istanbul. (I'm homesick, what can I say?)

    I think one major hurdle, maybe you've considered, is the language barrier. You're not likely to find many Turkish nurses who are fluent in English. I've a good friend who is a PhD prepared nursing lecturer and even her English is not what I'd call fluent. The nursing practice is very different in Turkiye, and differs greatly between the state hospitals and the private hospitals. I've talked to Turkish nurses in Istanbul and told them about nursing here in the US, believe me they are *not* interested in becoming Americanized. They make a decent wage, maybe not so much as American nurses, but they don't take on the responsibility that we do, either.

    I went over there with the attitude of "I'm an American nurse, I can teach them something." LMAO now, 'cause it ain't so. I met a Harvard grad who is in admin now, she tried to get the nurses at her hospital to be interested in "the American way." They had absolutely no interest whatsoever. I'd be very interested in seeing the Turkish way exported here, though. The doc is the bottom line. If he screws up, it's on him, not the nurse. The nurses (in private hospital) have 3 patients, sometimes less on general wards. ICU patients are1:1 on all shifts, with techs to help. They have regular breaks, eat meals, and are actually happy. There's no such thing as a nursing shortage, at least in Istanbul.

    I was fortunate enough to have my son at Acibadem Hastanesi, a private hospital affiliated with Harvard. I had a nurse all to myself, more patient ed than I could shake a stick at, and the best hospital food I've ever eaten. And the cost was far less than major surgery and a three-day-stay at any US hospital.

    Go to Istanbul, but have fun. See the Kapali Carsi, Aya Sofia, Sulemaniye, take the Bosphorus tour, and all that. Don't compare the healthcare system, you'll only make yourself crazy with jealousy. LOL Happy to answer any questions about healthcare in general in Istanbul.