Day one of the project started at University of Antwerp where we were welcomed and introduced to Italian students, who we would be working with. From there on we went to an auditorium where a class was presented on inter-professional collaboration and the programme of the week was explained. During this time we were very confused as everything was presented in Dutch and none of us could understand. Luckily, 2 of us knows Afrikaans, so we could read some the Dutch words and understand, although we didn’t know what was being said. We didn’t know what we should do or what was going on as everyone else was taking notes etc. Afterwards we went to one of the presenters to translate what we need to know and she only translated the questions and not the whole presentation. So to conclude, it can be said that the South African and the Italian students found the language barrier challenging. After a break we divided into a group of 19 students who were all English speaking. The first assignment we got together was that we had to share what we thought each profession did and then each student in the specific profession had to identify what was correct, incorrect and what else can be added. We found this to be very informative as we learned more about the different professions and gained more insight to the importance of working together as a team. It was especially fascinating to learn what the different professions in the different countries does.
The group of 19 students was divided into 2 small groups and on day 2 we worked together in our small groups. Each member had to present a case study that focused on interprofessional collaboration. This day was divided in 3 parts. In the first part, each of us had to share our case study. This was interesting and informative as a lot of questions was asked and we all learned something new. Thereafter, the group had to pick one case study to do an integrated care plan that involved all the required professions. The second part was to discuss and create the care plan. This part of the day was extremely challenging, as no one truly understood what was required for this assignment and the questions were repetitive and difficult to understand. We received very short notice that we had to present our case with visual aids, this created additional stress among the students. Although this was challenging, all the students worked well together to complete the assignment and to present the case to the tutors and the other group. Working in the smaller groups had a positive outcome as networking among the students occur more naturally and we could use the opportunity to learn from each other.
Day 3 started off well, as we collaborated with 3 Italian students and 2 students from Belgium in a mono-disciplinary team to discuss differences and similarities in the specific professions. This was a good assignment as you discussed the different approaches of nursing care in the different countries. Thereafter, we regrouped to our previous small groups and discussed different statements regarding interprofessional collaboration. This was very informative as we did not only learn how to work together in a team, but we also learned more about different professions and how each member of each profession thinks. The feedback we gave between the two groups were similar, although there were some aspects that needed to be discussed in more detail. After lunch we had to do a self and group evaluation. The self-evaluation was difficult for all three students as it is often difficult to recognise your own strengths and weaknesses. This was shared among the group members and the feedback from the group made us realise we had strengths that we didn’t recognise and that we had weaknesses that we could improve our self on. We all three thought that this was a very good experience in self growth and development.
Day 4 was the day of ethical dilemmas. This was a difficult assignment as each member of the team is in other professions and from different places, each with their own belief system. We were given a few scenarios of which each group had to choose one and decide on ethical principles, who was affected in the scenario, conflicts in the scenario related to the principles and what would our actions be. From the scenarios their came issues between team members regarding religion, but on all the other aspects everyone had the same point of view or way of thinking. On this day a lot of reflection was done by the three South African students and it came to light how much they enjoyed the programme, how much they have learned and how much they have grown.
On day 5 presentations on ethical questions and dilemmas were conducted. This was again presented in Dutch, but the Erasmus students was sitting with their group who translated, which was a positive aspect to this. Seeing how creative and how differently the students do presentations through pictures, acting, and videos was inspiring as this was not something we are used to. On this day the 3 CASO students mostly reflected on this week and came to the conclusion that although it was a long and tough week, it was a good experience and a good program to be part of.
Written by: S. Barnes, P.Bloem, D.Shebi