The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and Worcester State University recently announced an international academic exchange program for WSU nursing students in an effort to promote the city’s economic development, facilitate cultural and academic opportunities for Massachusetts students, and further Worcester’s status as an international city.
Under an agreement between WSU and Letterkenny Institute of Technology in County Donegal, Ireland, students in the nursing program will experience an alternative perspective on healthcare abroad. Beginning late May of 2015, WSU students will participate in the nursing education program at LYIT. In addition, the students will also gain academic and clinical experiences in the field, such as at the Letterkenny General Hospital, local health centers, and via home visits with Irish District Nurses.
Chamber president and CEO Timothy P. Murray and WSU President Barry M. Maloney recently held a press conference at Worcester State to discuss the new program, along with representatives from local business, community organizations, and the WSU nursing program.
The partnership resulted from the trips to Ireland made by Murray and President Maloney and their discussions with Michael Heaney, director of development with the Donegal City Council, and Paul Hannigan, president of LYIT.
“Our students increasingly see themselves as citizens of the world and we are pleased to offer this opportunity for a global experience,” Maloney said. “Our nursing students are among the best and the brightest and this academic experience will enhance their understanding of international healthcare and expand their depth of knowledge.”
Murray explained that the program also aims to retain graduates in Central Massachusetts and expressed a desire to expand the program in the future.
“This is a great start to what promises to be a long and beneficial partnership between these two institutions of higher education and their respective economic development and business organizations,” he said.
Stephanie Chalupka, Ed.D., associate dean of nursing, and junior nursing students Marissa Ferrera and Caitlin McCarthy were excited for the new program and the opportunity it will bring.
“I’m fortunate to be in Worcester, where I am exposed to different cultures in my education,” Ferrera said, “so I’m excited for this experience to go to Ireland and to learn about their culture and how their National Health Care system works.”