Barcelona 2017 European Network of Nursing in Higher Education (ENNE)

In April 2017 a group of our adult and child nursing students went to Barcelona to participate in the European Network of Nursing in Higher Education to understand more about European health care systems and nursing programmes, and to promote student exchange.

Hazel Wood, BSc (Hons) Nursing (Child Health) student

"I was lucky enough to be selected to represent the University of Plymouth at the ENNE Intensive Programme (IP) in Barcelona this year, kindly hosted by the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. It was a great opportunity to meet other nursing students from around Europe and discuss current nurse training and practices in our home countries. Working in teams with the other students we were set tasks such as designing the ideal European nurse. It was very interesting to talk about the similarities in our nursing education and also a good opportunity to learn from some of the differences.

We also had free time and planned activities so that we could socialise with the other students, visit the university nursing faculty and see the lovely city of Barcelona. Thanks to the ENNE IP I am currently arranging to go to Salzburg in Austria for my three week optional placement. I would definitely recommend the ENNE IP to any nursing student who is interested in inter-cultural learning, meeting other students and developing their nursing knowledge."

Stefan Bryant,  BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) student

"The ENNE Intensive Programme was a really enjoyable experience that was not only informative but also came as a welcome break from normal University life. It gave a great insight into the variations in training across Europe and also highlighted which coutries' training is more in-depth/supported. The course threw up a lot of debate and discussion around what care plans etc. are the most effective and why. One of my personal favourites from that was discovering the 'Nanda Nic Noc' existed. What we all discuss and share is so easily applicable to to our own progression as nurses and it was taking part in the ENNE Intensive Programme that was the basis for me actually finding out about these tools that I might not otherwise have come across.

On a personal level, it is a brilliant social week where you can learn lots from a variety of cultures. You can also learn or practice your conversational skills in other languages. It is a very good confidence boosters for presentations and group work as this is the main basis for the entire week."

Lydia Herbert,  BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) student

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the ENNE Intensive Programme. It was a wonderful opportunity to view nursing from different viewpoints and cultures and see how other countries around Europe nurse and what is included within their educational systems. It was also a fantastic opportunity to make useful contacts if I choose to do an elective placement abroad, and I made some very good friends who I still keep in contact with! 
It is an experience I will never forget and I would recommend ENNE to everyone!" 

Julie Woolman, BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) student

"I applied to the ENNE programme to broaden my horizons in nursing and to increase my knowledge, and it far exceeded my expectations. It was a unique experience with a week of discussion, exchanging of ideas, networking and the building of friendships between student nurses and tutors of 12 different nationalities.

I enjoyed the academic side of the programme because it was so interesting to see the similarities between the countries and how we often use the same nursing systems but call them different names or use them in different ways. I enjoyed exploring the different cultures during the social time we had and finding out how student nurses in different countries find their courses. It was very enjoyable being in Barcelona and to see how Spanish healthcare is structured with a tour of a hospital and having a lecture by a Spanish tutor. I have come away from my week with the ENNE programme with a new enthusiasm for nursing and with a view to using some of the ideas discussed in my future nursing career. 

I would highly recommend the University of Plymouth nursing students apply for future ENNE programmes with an aim to broaden their prospects and to enable them to engage with a multi-national work force."

Emma Bilkey, BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) student

"Before attending the ENNE programme I was very nervous, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and as a student from Truro, I had not met many of my fellow University of Plymouth students. However, taking part in the ENNE programme turned out to be one of the best experiences of my nursing degree! The Plymouth group quickly gelled together and the other European students could not have been more friendly. Every evening the international students spent time relaxing and talking about their day, which definitely aided communication during group work activities.  

Overall taking part in the ENNE programme gave me a fresh perspective on nursing, and encouraged me to think outside the box when tackling issues in healthcare. I was surprised to discover that despite the increasing focus on holistic care in the UK, we are still far behind many other European countries. While I learnt that there are many differences in nursing practices across Europe, my groups key message was ‘despite the name, we all do the same’. Highlighting that even though we may have different ways of doing things, we all ultimately are nurses, who simply strive to provide the best possible care for our patients.

If you are unsure about applying for the ENNE programme in 2018, go for it! My only regret is that I can’t go again."

Keziah Wood, BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) student

"The ENNE Intensive Programme was one of the best things I’ve done. It challenged me hugely and I was very apprehensive about taking part as it was outside of my comfort zone. However, I am extremely glad that I did push myself to partake in the programme as it helped me develop both personally and professionally. 
The group based learning was very valuable and enabled all members of my group to learn from each other. I would, without a doubt, recommend the ENNE intensive week to anyone seeking to learn about nursing from a European perspective, to meet new people from across Europe and to challenge themselves."

Cheryl Dunn, BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) student

"I 100 per cent recommend the ENNE programme. I was a little anxious about taking a week out of my busy academic year, but it was worth every second. Over the week, I got to know my group well. Each country contributed and shared their nursing experiences. It was very interesting to discuss both differences and similarities. One thing that stood out though is that we all shared the same values. It was clear that caring and compassion is at the centre of everything we do.

There were a lot of workshops and presentations throughout the week, but also time for social and cultural activities. Although we worked hard, we also had lots of fun. I was very inspired by many of the workshop topics but also benefited from spending the week with other University of Plymouth students. I have recently applied for a staff nurse job and was proud to write about my ENNE experience on my application. I perceive ENNE as a significant part of my degree that I will look back fondly upon."


Connie Land, BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) student

"The ENNE programme in Barcelona was a very valuable experience. It was really good to work with other students from across Europe and learn about the differences and similarities in nursing and nurse training. I think this is an experience not to be missed; it is educational, cultural and enjoyable."

Jessica Keith, BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) student

"The ENNE Intensive Programme (IP) gave me the unique and rare opportunity to gain an insight into European nursing. A highlight of the programme was when we all got together and discussed our roles as students in our own countries, it was fascinating to learn one another's limitations in our roles, and also what some of the countries are permitted to do as students - this was very surprising, especially for the English team! We then got together, brought forward the most favourable parts of our nursing roles, and created the ideal European nurse. This was a great day and everyone had fun and learnt a lot. The programme included adult, child and mental health student nurses so this gave us a greater, more comprehensive understanding. We had some great debates and all members contributed, everyone was very understanding and respectful to others opinions and suggestions. 

It was a very intensive week but we still got to explore a fair bit. The ENNE programme set up tours for us to explore Barcelona and learn more about the culture, the giant paddle boarding was great fun, but everyone’s favourite was the last night when the teachers had to dance and play musical chairs!

Overall, it was a really fun week, we gained an insight into the different healthcare systems as well as university systems across Europe, and this made me realize how fortunate we are in England, not only with the NHS but also with the University of Plymouth. I feel very privileged to have been a part of this programme and would urge current students to take part; it is an opportunity that we may never get the chance to experience again. I have since gained a greater appreciation for my University and country."