Comparative Health Systems Immersion in South Korea

Introduction

The prosperity of a country is strongly dependent on the structure of its healthcare system. It is also important to adjust the way people receive medical attention to address the problems and possibilities that arise due to societal and technological changes happening in the world. A big part of that is revising the education programs that train future health professionals. One proposed revision, designed to address problems specifically nurses face, is described in Comparative health systems immersion in South Korea: A constructivist competency-based approach to educating master’s nursing students by Pavlic et al. (2020). The goal of this paper is to analyze this article and evaluate the usefulness of the course introduced within it.

The Summary of the Article

The article in question describes a comparative immersion program that takes place in South Korea and is currently being offered to American Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) students. The choice of the country in which the course is conducted is justified by the achievements the Korean healthcare system has accomplished in the last couple of decades. These improvements in such important quantitative measures as life expectancy and infant mortality allow it to be considered superior to the healthcare that the USA provides (Pavlic et al, 2020). The choice of South Korea as the location of this course also allows the students to search for cross-cultural solutions to the arising problems and common ground with your patients regardless of their background.

The authors also perceive the success of this program in part due to its immersion aspect that gives students “the opportunity to journey from theory to practice” (Pavlic et al, 2020, p. 95). This method of studying, which is known as experiential learning, includes simulations that show what working as a nurse will entail in reality. The course also takes great notice of the fact that most MSN students are adult learners and require a different approach compared to their younger counterparts. This fact especially concerns the relationship between a teacher and a student as it is structured in a more familiar and less hierarchical way.

The Evaluation of the Article

The authors of this paper are all professors at the School of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of San Francisco with two of them being retired medical specialists. This indicates that they have the necessary background knowledge in both the different possible educational practices and the medical field to analyze the aforementioned course. The success of the comparative immersion course analyzed in this article can be discerned from the fact that this program is implemented at several universities in the USA. The immersion aspect of this program is nothing innovative and is offered in many medical institutions all over the world. The comparative aspect seems to have been introduced and implemented fairly recently with the one described in the article dating to 2017 (Pavlic et al, 2020).

The Response to the Article

Advantages of the Course

This course is truly designed to correctly address and solve several problems that MSN students face during their time at university and in the work field. In particular, the experiential learning aspect of the program is a crucial instrument in training future medical professionals. While the idea of putting theory to practice is often implemented when educating future specialists in a wide array of fields, the unpredictable workflow that nurses face can only be understood through simulations.

This fact is widely recognized as the extensive list of skills an individual of this profession or any other medical one requires is the reason behind the existence of simulated patients. Taking into account that many MSN students are adults and learn at a different rate and through different means than children is another strength of the program.

Analyzing, experimenting with and implementing the methods and philosophies of a healthcare system that is superior to the American one, likewise, can only lead to good results. This course, in particular, advises the students to eradicate “the belief that everything produced and advocated by the U.S. is the international standard of greatness” (Pavlic et al, 2020, p. 93). Once the future nurses adopt this way of thinking it will help them consider everything with a critical eye which is how progressive changes are made. On the other hand, the organizers of the program are quick “to caution the students not to literally translate South Korean efficiency practices into the U.S. health care system” (Pavlic et al, 2020, p. 93). It is advised to implement them according to the context for the best results.

Disadvantages of the Course

While the program offers great solutions to some problems present in current MSN curricula, it fails to address others and focuses on some unnecessary notions it wants its students to adopt. While the South Korean healthcare system is superior to the American one, it is not perfect. There are other countries with well-developed systems of administering medical help and innovative methods that could potentially be added to the list of possible locations for the program. However, those changes do not seem to be planned for the course.

The focus on South Korea also goes far beyond adopting certain approaches to providing medical attention. The students are encouraged “to acknowledge the pain of oppression and engage in acts of humility” (Pavlic et al, 2020, p. 94). These are good advice for all people in general, however, it is an odd competence for future nurses to focus on while they’re training. A big part of preparing for the course is also acknowledging the cultural differences between the two countries but refraining from voicing opinions that may be controversial in South Korea. This is clearly an important facet for studying in a foreign land, however, the focus on this, as it is presented in the article, is excessive and could be detrimental to the actual learning process.

Conclusion

In order to maintain a good health system, it is always important to analyze and revise current curricula being offered to medical students. The article evaluated in this paper focuses on a comparative immersion program that grants future nurses the opportunity to practice what they are studying at a hospital in South Korea. This course allows students to experience a superior healthcare system and adopt a cross-cultural understanding of patients. While the program correctly addresses some issues, its greatest flaws are focusing on unnecessary notions that will not elevate anyone’s medical skills and not adding any other countries to the list of possible locations.

Reference

Pavlic D., Burns H., Wong A., & Lehmer J. (2020). Comparative health systems immersion in South Korea: A constructivist competency-based approach to educating master’s nursing students. Journal of Professional Nursing, 36(1), 92-97.