February 2014

This month, student nurses and lecturers are in Fulda in Germany as part of an EU RADAR intensive teaching programme with partner universities from Finland, Germany, Spain, Cyprus, Slovakia and the USA.

The programme focuses on students developing their skills in the early recognition of an acute deterioration in patients to ensure the provision of timely and appropriate care.


Here is a summary of week 1, courtesy of several of the students on the programme and Melanie Stephens (Adult Lecturer and project co-ordinator) Angela Lee (CYP Lecturer) and  Mike Barker (Adult Lecturer).

Students: Laura Marshall, Lyndsey Hamer, Lucinda Weller, Paul Crow, Katie Bailes, Laura McGarry, Nigel Clynick, Jonny Thomasson, Maria Taylor, Kate Murphy.

First of all we would like to share our thoughts and feelings about week one of the EU RADAR Intensive Programme. We have learnt about the differences in the delivery of the undergraduate programmes across the 7 partners (Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Spain, UK, USA) within the EU RADAR Programme. Typically within the UK the undergraduate pre-registration nursing programme is delivered over a 3 years period that contains 3 semesters per year. However across European and American partners the programme is delivered over 4 years containing only 2 semesters per year. This also includes Easter, Christmas & summer vacation (varying between 4 weeks and 4 months in length). All of the partner countries deliver a generic undergraduate programme, whereas, the UK provides field specific undergraduate programmes (adult, child, mental health, learning disability).

During the clinical workshops on Wednesday 19th February 2014 we noted the many variations in uniform policy and regulation. For example colours, style of uniform, shoes and wearing of jewellery and hairstyles.

The existence of nursing regulatory bodies varies across the partners within the programme as yet we have not discussed or been aware of the impact of this on current and future practice. What we have observed and discussed within the programme are the differences within nursing philosophies and models of care that range from a traditional medical towards a holistic person centred model.

Being here in Fulda has given us an opportunity to experience a wide variety of cultures not only of Fulda but of the partner organisations. On our tour of Fulda we were informed that 60% of the population are practising Catholics. The cost of living appears cheaper than the UK; we have experienced many restaurants (German, Greek, Indian, and Italian) that all provide their patrons with large food portions and delicious beer. This love of food spills in to university life where student food is plentiful and subsidised (a main, desert, drink approx €3). The dining room is a cashless system with excellent incentives to tidy up after oneself and recycle.

We would like to share with you the similarities and differences noted within the topic areas covered for example the use of the Early Warning Score system varies across the partners. Also we shared our experiences in relation to the roles and expectations of what student nurses are able to practice in relation to delivery of clinical skills. In some of the countries we were informed that some student nurses are able to undertake venepuncture, cannulation and intubation. The rationale provided for this was to meet the needs of the population and resource management. For example in some countries the hospitals available can be quite geographically spread.  Both in our discussions and clinical visit to different healthcare environments it was observed the provision of privacy and dignity in patient care areas varied for example in the everyday use of bed screens, curtains etc. From week one it has been highlighted that there may be differences in the use of ‘touch’ and non-verbal communication within the therapeutic nurse-patient relationship. Could there be a cultural influence? Staff ratio on wards and clinical areas can vary from 1 nurse to 20 patients to 1:4. In an emergency situation administration of oxygen therapy may need to be prescribed and there can be limitations in the amount nurses can administer. Through conversations with other students we shared our experiences of nursing patients with differences in types of conditions and prevalence. For example obesity within Spain is rarely seen by the student nurses compared to other European countries and America.

Positives aspects of week 1 of EU RADAR: the workstations enable us to prepare for a rapid and appropriate response to the acutely deteriorating patient. The format in which the ABCDE workstations were delivered allowed us the opportunity to apply theory to practice.  The hospital tour provided us with insight of how the hospital departments in Germany work i.e. A & E, Red Cross, emergency helicopter room, ambulance, intermediate care unit. What we did notice from these visits is the access to medical services and the range and proximity of specialised equipment available to assist with diagnosis and treatment. We also shared the variations used when seeking help in an emergency situation from the use of wall mounted ‘crash call’ buzzers to nurses having to physically leave the clinical area to obtain medical help.

A major positive of the programme was the opportunity to socialise with students and faculty from the different partner institutions and the beautiful Baroque architecture of the city of Fulda.

To summarise the whole EU RADAR 2014 learning experience (week 1) has been excellent and we have gained valuable opportunities to improve on our nursing practice from both discussions and involvement with our fellow nursing peers in particularly sharing experiences from each country and cultures.



Week two

The students

Viivi Talvisilta and Anni Hyödynmaa (Finland), Ranae Ricci and Jessica Huenecke (USA), Hana Touskova and Matej Klimo (Slovakia), Kathleen Ressel and Sandra Bodden (Germany), Katerina Stouppa and Alexis Demetri (Cyprus)

were asked the following questions

1. What attracted you to the programme?

To see something different from our school, nursing systems and country

To see the view of other nurses from other countries

Other students who attended last year got us excited

2. What do you think of the programme

The programme is well organised and the simulation manikin’s are high quality

Lot of variety in the ways we learn

Good to have lectures

Focus on many topics, case studies, age groups scenarios and situations

The teachers are equally involved as the students

All in the same hotel so we can meet up and see each other outside of the academic environment

Respectful atmosphere, ask anything you might be laughed at but it is okay

We have all respected other cultures

Learning new languages

Not just learning about nursing but other cultures, history,  habits, values and beliefs

3. What can be done to improve the programme?

Would like to have more time to practice in the workshops

To have lectures earlier before we leave to print off and prepare

Abbreviations list, session and quiz

Mix the variety of use of sessions, pictures and videos more hands on

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