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First USA internships in the nursing field

Partnership with University of Minneapolis enables student- and teacher-exchange in healthcare and nursing

Students of the St. Pölten UAS visiting the Fire Paramedic Unit in St. Pauls

In the context of a cooperation agreement with the American, University of Minneapolis, four students in the Bachelor programme Healthcare and Nursing at St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences had the opportunity for the first time to complete a six-week internship in the USA. A teacher exchange and a mutually-conducted course are planned contents of the American-Austrian partnership. 

In mid-October, the four St. Pölten UAS students returned from their internships in the USA. During their stay, they were able to visit numerous healthcare and nursing facilities and thereby receive an inside view of access to care in the American healthcare system.

From “school nursing” to preclinical care

The internship placements included the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, one of the world's most respected healthcare facilities or the German Immersion School where students became familiarized with the profession of "school nurse". In the field of Community Nursing at St. Mary's Basilica, a church institution in Minneapolis, students conducted health checks on homeless people, learning their diverse life histories and the impact of the health system on their living environment.

A further highlight was the visit to a "Fire Paramedic Unit" in the city of St. Paul. During a discussion with the on-duty paramedics, they were able to establish a connection to the training in Austria. In the Bachelor programme Healthcare and Nursing at St. Pölten UAS, students can take the course Preclinical Care and Nursing and thereby additionally complete training as a rescue/emergency paramedic.

Student Melanie Berger summarised her internship experience by saying that: "What was special about the internship for me, was the possibility to gain an insight into nursing as an independent profession on a higher educational level. This trip proved that one learns not only from books, but above all through a lively exchange of ideas in a multicultural society".

Network meetings in St. Pölten and the USA

The internship was preceded by several months of preparation including two meetings with representatives from St. Pölten UAS and the University of Minneapolis, in which fields of cooperation were identified. In the coming year, American students will pay a reciprocal visit to St. Pölten. A teacher exchange between the two universities and a mutual course in the area of healthcare and nursing are also planned.

 "The field of healthcare and nursing in America can look back on a long scientific tradition and is a highly regarded discipline. In Austria, healthcare and nursing finds itself at the beginning of academisation. In order to be well equipped for the challenges of the future, an exchange is therefore particularly important for both students and teachers as well as St. Pölten UAS. We are very proud of our numerous international cooperations. The partnership with an American institution is something special in our field", explained Petra Ganaus, Head of the programme Healthcare and Nursing at St. Pölten UAS.