Colin Rishi Connor, BFA, Associate Creative Director,
with Kathleen Shaw, RN, MA, Vice President, Client Strategy
Every year, students from around the world participate in the Nurse Scholar Program at Lenox Hill Hospital. Last March, three students from the Nursing University of Leeds, England arrived with a unique objective: compare similarities and differences in nursing in the U.K. and the U.S. Phyllis Yezzo, V.P. of Nursing, and Geraldine Varrassi, Nursing Education Specialist, welcomed Rachael Lee, Charlotte Hobson, and Stephanie Rich to observe one of the best nursing teams in New York.
For two weeks, they shadowed individual nurses in the ER, Med/Surg and Cardiology. Phyllis Yezzo also invited them to attend nursing leadership meetings. The British scholars and their Lenox Hill colleagues were struck by the similarities of practices on both sides of the pond, but some differences were clear:
In The Classroom
The degree programs of nurses in the U.K. and U.S. vary widely. The Brits have a three-year degree program, as well as a diploma program that omits Psych and Maternal Child Nursing. And unlike the U.S., there is no standardized NCLEX-RN exam to become certified. But just as the U.S. is grappling with defining a single entry-level nursing degree, the U.K. is considering discontinuing the less rigorous diploma program. Along with an exceptional emphasis on bedside care, one of the many benefits of getting a nursing degree in the U.K. is undeniable: the government pays for many tuition costs. Considering the expense of higher education in the states, this may explain why U.S. nurses receive a more competitive salary straight out of school.
At The Bedside
From taking patient vital signs to completing complex patient assessments, RN duties at Lenox Hill Hospital made a definite impression on the Leeds students. The scholars remarked at the extraordinary critical thinking skills and autonomy of the U.S. nurses. Rachael Lee writes, "Unit-based nurses utilize advanced assessment skills with the patients. The completion of physical examinations appears to be an important part of the nurse's role in America. In the U.K., this would largely be considered the role of the doctor." They also commented on the increased emphasis on administrative tasks, whereas British nurses tend to spend more time at the bedside. That said, they were equally impressed by the speedy technology utilized to complete administrative tasks at Lenox Hill.
At The Table
Taking up the invitation to observe Lenox Hill's administrators in action, the scholars attended nursing leadership meetings and sat alongside nurse managers, nurse educators and nurse practitioners. From these experiences, the scholars concluded that the American healthcare system is striving to improve patient care through extending nursing practice. Rachael Lee of Leeds writes, "Whilst the U.K. healthcare system has also adapted the role of the nurse, we were particularly impressed that many nurses in America occupied extremely high managerial positions." In short, they found that the voice of nurse leaders at Lenox Hill is integral to guiding the direction of patient care.
Around The Globe
After their two weeks in the Nurse Scholars Program at Lenox Hill, the British students returned to the University of Leeds, where they compared notes with classmates who were placed in other hospitals in Canada, Mexico and South Africa. With their "International Nursing" study, and partnerships with world-class organizations like Lenox Hill Hospital, they hope to gather the best nursing practices from around the globe.