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A Foreign Site Learning Experience That's Close to Home

Students from McAuley School of Nursing, which is part of University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), recently participated in a Foreign Site Learning Experience in Ireland.

UDM is a collaborative ministry of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy. The goal of the Foreign Site Learning Experience was to help nursing students integrate the Mercy tradition within their self-identity as a professional nurse. Faculty members Catherine Corrigan and Andrea Kwasky assert that linking the Foreign Site Learning Experience to nursing concepts within the Mercy tradition has demonstrated amongst the students in the McAuley School of Nursing a deep self-awareness, a high level of understanding of caring, and a greater awareness and self-identification of 'nurses as leaders'.


        McAuley School of Nursing Students (UDM) with Sr Margherita Roch and Dublin Mater Nursing students (in white   

While in Ireland, the students and faculty attended a programme at Mercy International Centre, had a presentation from nurses at the Mater Hospital in Dublin as well as having the opportunity to exchange experiences as student nurses in both countries. The group attended a lecture by Mary Reynolds rsm on the history of nursing in the Mercy tradition, and participated in a workshop by Veronica Mangan rsm on the Mission of Mercy (Mercy University Hospital, Cork). The students also visited the Convent of Mercy in Trim where they were greeted by the Sister Brid and the community of Sisters with a sing-along and wonderful home-cooked desserts!


Feedback from students was very positive. Some students put together a YouTube video talking of their experience. (04:26)

Comments in the course evaluation included:

  • 'I was thoroughly impressed with what I learned of the Mercy tradition and Catherine McAuley. It makes UDM's mission statement a little more clear, and manageable'
  • 'The Mercy International Center was a great experience I thought. I learned a lot more about Catherine McAuley and what her mission was as a person. She had an incredible drive to help and she wanted to make sure others had the opportunity to help as well by opening the Sister of Mercy'
  • '...greatest impact was attending the Mercy International Center. It was so cool to learn about Catherine McAuley and really connect UDM with the Mercy traditions. This experience was very special as we got to stand on the original floor in Catherine McAuley's bedroom'
  • 'Sr. Veronica’s Workshop had an impact on me because it allowed me to address some underlying issues within myself. It reminds me to think of others and their individual situations as I continue my care'
  • 'I like Sr. Veronica's workshop because it made us present ourselves as someone else who may be poor, uneducated, or sick. It made the skills of nursing come out'
  • 'Sr. Veronica Workshop. This experience was really emotional for me. I feel like I really connected with her workshop and I brought it back to my life in America. It really changed my perspective on how to look at the sick, poor, and uneducated. We are all people, but we can’t base these things off of a person. Everyone goes through different life changes, but we have to learn to accept them and rebuild on what has broken us. It is almost impossible to not be changed from a life crisis one may experience, but the best thing is to help that person see the good in it and learn from it. I personally, will take my card and one day provide/care or take the time to learn more about how I connected with it'
  • 'Sr. Veronica's workshop allowed me to put myself in another's shoes. Everyone is fighting their own battle that I may not know about. If someone is having a bad day it may not be because of me so I shouldn't take it so personally. I need to be more understanding of that and learn to help them through it'
  • 'Really enjoyed the last activity we did with Sister [Veronica]. It was very thought provoking'

    Messages to: Catherine Corrigan and Andrea Kwasky