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ISRN Nursing
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 294138, 6 pages
Research Article

The Diversity Issue Revisited: International Students in Clinical Environment

1Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki, Korpimaa 6 b 11, 02300 Espoo, Finland
2Faculty of Health Care and Nursing, Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, P.O. Box 4030, 00079 Metropolia, Finland
3Unit of General Practice, Helsinki University Central Hospital, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
4Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 20, 00014 Helsinki, Finland

Received 21 December 2011; Accepted 19 January 2012

Academic Editors: A. Loke and B. Roberts

Copyright © 2012 Marianne Pitkäjärvi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Globalization within higher education leads to an increase in cultural and linguistic diversity in student populations. The purpose of this study was to explore culturally diverse health care students’ experiences in clinical environment in Finland, and to compare them with those of native Finnish students’ participating in the same program. Method. A cross-sectional survey was performed at 10 polytechnic faculties of health care in Finland. 283 respondents (148 international and 95 Finnish students) responded to items concerning clinical rotation. The survey included items grouped as dimensions: (1) welcoming clinical environment, (2) unsupportive clinical environment, (3) approach to cultural diversity, (4) communication, and (5) structural arrangements. Results. International students felt as welcome on their placements as Finnish students. Concerning structural arrangements set up to facilitate preceptorship and approach to cultural diversity in the learning environment, the two groups’ opinions were similar. However, international students were more likely than Finnish students to experience their clinical learning environment as unsupportive ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 0 1 ). In addition, their experiences of communication with the staff was poorer than that of their Finnish peers’ ( 𝑃 = 0 . 0 4 ). Conclusions. Awareness of strategies that enhance understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of cultural and linguistic diversity in any health care setting are needed.