The Experiences of Western Expatriate Nursing Educators Teaching in Eastern Asia

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To describe the lived experience of English-speaking Western nurse educators teaching in East Asian countries.


The study design was an application of existential phenomenological approach to qualitative data collection and analysis. Eight expatriate nurse educators who had taught more than 2 years in an East Asian country were interviewed about their experiences between January 2004 and November 2005.


Narrative data were analyzed using a phenomenological approach aimed at distilling the experience of the educators. Each member of the research team analyzed the data, then through group discussions a consensus was reached, paying close attention to developing clear understandings of language nuances and maintaining the participants' voices.


Four themes emerged from the data: (a) differing expectations, (b) the cost of the expatriate experience, (c) bridging pedagogies, and (d) adapting and finding purpose. The tacit meanings of cultural differences affecting participants' experiences are presented.


The ways that a collectivist-oriented culture may affect nurse educators coming from a Western individualist worldview needs to continue to be researched to develop better mutual understandings that will lead to culturally collaborative models of nursing practice, education and research.

Clinical Relevance

Nurses providing direct care and nurse educators who work with people from cultures other than their own will find the discussion of cross-cultural misunderstandings useful.

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