Students are not the only ones able to study abroad and expand their knowledge outside of the university. Professor Diane Conrad of the Kirkhof College of Nursing is also utilizing her skills abroad.
Conrad is a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship for teaching and research in Dublin, Ireland. Conrad sat down with her global team of colleagues to discuss the possibility of a national and international doctor of nursing practice (DNP). Catherine Corrigan of Dublin City University helped Conrad secure an invitation for teaching and conducting research in Ireland.
The DNP is also offered at Grand Valley State University in the Kirkhof College of Nursing. Nursing faculty from GVSU joined with professors from the University of Detroit Mercy, George Washington University and Dublin City University to help make the education a reality. Thankfully, with Conrad’s eligibility for sabbatical for Fall 2019 as an associate professor at the Kirkhof College of Nursing, it was.
“The opportunity to advance the nursing profession by promoting nursing and advanced practice nursing roles at the graduate level is a foundational goal of my scholarship work at GVSU,” Conrad said.
Conrad is no stranger to international travel, as she made her way across Europe in vacations to England, Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland. Regardless, she is looking forward to immersing herself in the Irish culture and the opportunity to practice nursing on foreign soil.
“Ireland is just starting to educate nurse practitioners and the project involves working (and) consulting with academia, practice and policy makers to ensure the best possible nursing education at the graduate level,” Conrad said.
In Dublin, part of her project will encompass linking graduate students using virtual classrooms in Ireland to the U.S. universities of her colleagues. She hopes the new virtual teaching methods and developing relationships with students will promote cultural awareness of health needs and implement the strategies essential in promoting quality health care.
Although moving to another part of the world can be a challenge, Conrad is confident in those who support her.
“Yes, it is a bit scary to move away for four months to another country, but I have had wonderful support from both my American and Irish colleagues,” Conrad said. “The Fulbright Foundation also supports their scholars financially and with a support team to assist work visas and acclimation to a new country in order to fulfill their mission of cultural exchange internationally.”
Dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies Mark Schaub said only five to eight GVSU professors apply online to the Fulbright Scholarship each year.
“They apply in order to pursue career enhancing, long-term professorships in other countries, other cultures,” Schaub said. “They often conduct research, lecture and teach for a semester or two semesters. They very often report a Fulbright long-term abroad as among the very most rewarding experiences of their academic careers.”