A Mixed Methods Evaluation of an International Service Learning Program in the Dominican Republic

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine the impact of an international service learning experience (ISL) using a quantitative and qualitative approach.

Design and Sample:

A descriptive study was used to explore the impact of an ISL experience on global awareness, professional and personal growth with 11 baccalaureate nursing students in the Dominican Republic.

Intervention:

Students participated in a three credit ISL program in the Dominican Republic which included pre- and postexperience seminars and a 2-week, on-site immersion experience.

Measures:

The International Education Survey (IES) was used as the quantitative measure. Content analysis of Critical Reflective Inquiry (CRI) narratives was used as the qualitative method.

Results:

Students reported a high overall impact (M = 5.9) using the IES with high means for the Professional Student Nurse Role (M = 6.10, SD: 0.74), Personal Development (M = 6.08, SD: 0.76), International Perspectives (M = 6.03, SD: 0.71), and a lower mean for Intellectual Development (M = 5.40, SD: 0.69). CRI narratives revealed specific areas of impact, for example, increased empathy and ability to communicate effectively with patients from life situations very different from their own.

Conclusions:

Further exploration of the usefulness of various evaluation tools and methodological designs is warranted to understand this type of pedagogy and its' impact on student learning outcomes short- and long-term.

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