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Health@World: towards a culture sensitive nurse identity.

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An international, interactive health week, meeting people with common interests!

From 24th April till 28 April 2017 (Bruges, Belgium)

Healt@worldWithin the international project health@world, first year nurse students of Howest (University of Applied Sciences) learn about the importance of social and cultural influences on nursing, health and health care and open their minds to the diversity of our (globalizing) society.

The project is organized as an international week and the Nursing Department of Howest invites international nurse students and lecturers to participate. With an evidence- and experience-based approach, participants learn with and from each other about cultural sensitive care and health promotion worldwide.

Health (care) worldwide

Many factors combine together to affect the health of individuals. Whether people are healthy or not, is determined by their circumstances (health behavior, genetics,…) and environment. To a large extent, factors on international (economic inequality north-south, financial crisis,…), national (debts, economic measures,…), community (environment, employment,…) and family (income, housing,…) level all have considerable impacts on health. The different influencing factors mentioned above are presented to the first year students as a framework to be able to understand differences in health, health care and health behavior of different nationalities and cultures.

Nursing worldwide

Evidence based nursing is becoming common practice in health care settings. Still there are a lot of differences between the nursing practice in different countries worldwide and even in Europe. Is nursing practice also culturally determined? Both students and lecturers who’re participating in international exchange are reporting a lot of differences in nursing procedures, materials and practice between countries. Even within a country, nursing practice can already differ between health care settings (e.g. hospital versus home care). An important cause of these differences is definitely the environmental reality in which nursing is practiced, but maybe also different evidence and therefore different nursing education. Maybe we can even speak about a different ‘nursing culture’.

Culture sensitive care

In a relatively short time, Flanders has become a multicultural and multireligious society. On the one hand that’s positive. A multicolored society has many advantages and can be very enriching. We are invited to deal with the richness of difference and meet the other. On the other hand this colorful live doesn’t come without a struggle. Regularly there’re frictions, conflicts and disagreements related to the ethno-cultural diversity. This social trend is also reflected within the healthcare services. Also healthcare facilities are challenged to intercultural work. And also here this happens somewhere on the continuum between “very inspiring” and “especially difficult”. The challenges in this field are wide and complex. More than ever there is a need for intercultural dialogue, to grasp and understand the actual intercultural processes and to find an appropriate attitude to deal with that.

Purpose of the international week

As a future nurse it’s important to look at your own place within a more global and evolving context both national and international. Through this international week, students learn to know the importance of social and cultural influences on health and health care and open their minds to the diversity of our society.

During this international week students will learn about the differences in healthcare in the world and the influence of Europe and the world (e.g. Millennium goals of WHO) on health care their home country, mainly in the area of cultural sensitive care and health promotion.

Students will also learn to be sensitive for other cultures they meet in health care settings and learn how it influences the daily practice as a nurse.

The topics mentioned above will give the nurse students a broad look at health care in the world. The nurse students will be(come) conscious of the influence of cultural diversity and identity in the nursing practice.

For lecturers who will attend the health@world week, it will be an opportunity to share some ideas and to have discussions about further cooperation (see below, practical information).

Practical information

Since the academic year of 2015-2016, the health@world international week is embedded in the Howest International Partner Days with meetings, workshops and networking activities.


Apply online voor Health@world: International week in nursing


We propose the IBIS budget hotel, a new and cheap hotel situated next to the main entrance of the railway station of Bruges. Then you’re near to our campus and also near to the city center. Following this link you can find some information.

Guest lecturers

Guest lecturers are warmly welcome to teach in the international week. The visit can be organized as an Erasmus teacher exchange.

We invite lecturers from international partner institutions for lectures, workshops, testimonies,… about topics in the area of cultural sensitive care (good practices), health promotion,…

We also ask the invited lecturer to introduce the presentation with a brief summary of the health care system and the nurse education in the own country.

You can also choose to focus more on basic nursing skills such a hand hygiene, taking blood samples, IM injections,…

We are open to any suggestions!

The overall aim is to compare evidence, practice and education resulting in an article or shared course material that can be used by the participating lecturers for publication.

Preliminary program (subject to change)

  Mon 24 april Tue 25 April Wed 26 April Thu 27 April Fri 28 April
08:15 - 12:30

Arrival and welcome

Meet & greet with Nursing staff

  • Guided visit to the skills lab's
  • Possibilities to meet colleagues
  • Possibilities to meet researchers

Exchange & discussions with Nursing staff

  • Health & healthcare in Belgium
  • Perspectives on Nursing
  • Innovative projects

Plenary sessions to students

  • Health & healthcare in my home country
  • Perspectives on Nursing
  • Good practices in intercultural care

Breakfast with the Nursing staff

  • Final meeting Summary of the health@world event
  • Discussions about collaboration
  • Administrative session
  • Farewell coffee & sweets
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch @ campus
13:30 - 17:45

Start meeting

  • Introduction
  • Purpose of health@world
  • Curriculum exchange

Field visits

Guided visit Bruges

Parallel sessions to students

  • Health & healthcare in my home country
  • Perspectives on Nursing
  • Good practices in intercultural care


On the days marked with an asterix (*), there will be the possibility to have meetings and discussions with the staff of the Nursing Department (to concretize later on).

Contact us

Wouter DecockWouter Decock
Howest University of applied siences
Rijselstraat 5 - B-8200 Bruges
Tel. 0032 50 38 12 77

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