Nursing Exchange: Preparing to travel to Tennessee

What got me interested in the Nursing Exchange programme?

Robert Gordon University offers a Nursing Exchange programme to either Houston or Tennessee, in the United States (US). The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in the United Kingdom (UK) adopts best practices from all over the world including the US e.g. the use of both Roper-Logan-Tierney and Orem’s Self-care model of nursing to undertake patient-centered care in the UK. I felt curious to partake in this cross-institutional collaboration and partnership, hoping it will offer great clinical, academic and cultural experiences to nurture my professional growth and creativity as a Nurse. The application process and the interview – 

I got into the Tennessee programme which involved a partnership with the University of Tennessee (UTK). The application process was straightforward:

  • Essay – answering 3 questions
  • CV
  • Interview – academic staff and UTK Exchange coordinator
  • Travel documents i.e. Up to date Passport, VISA / ESTA etc.

The interviewers were really nice and unnerving. This was great as it helped me express my enthusiasm for the programme. I was glad to receive the email from the coordinator to “confirm that we would like to offer you a place on the 2018 RGU and UTK student nurse exchange, well done”. Fantastic!!!

The preparation (Don’t Cry for me Argentina):

My preparation for the next few months involved:

  • Working with the exchange coordinators to plan out details of the programme including recruiting other students onto the programme, organising travel dates, places of interests to visit with the UTK students when they arrive, contact information, funding etc.
  • Communicating by email and social media with the UTK students – Lizzy, Emily, Paton, and Megan, who I enjoyed getting to know – it seems like when writing emails in the UK, we use a lot more spacing to separate sentences into paragraphs.

My initial travelling budget was £1600. My rationale was as follows:

Return Trip: £700

  • Flight Trip – Return flight via London + Coach Trips + site-seeing (New York US, Toronto Canada), Travel food etc.
  • Travel Insurance
  • International Student ID / Debit Card – I didn’t need it but it gives great discounts.
  • Mobile Sim Card £10 – I assumed the US have a giffgaff / Lycamobile equivalent

Arriving In Tennessee: £900

  • Accommodation £450
  • Toiletries £10
  • House Warming £50 – shop at Walmart e.g. breakfast Cereals, laundry powder etc.
  • Others £400

Once the application deadline had passed, we all discovered that I was the only student from RGU to go on the programme. I shared the news with family and friends who were ecstatic that I was on a programme that will impact my life forever. Amazing!!!

kene 3

Things to know before Travelling

  • Take Swimwear, T-shirts, vests, and Shorts – it gets really warm.
  • You’ll run out of space on your phone memory, Camera etc. You have no idea how much great content I deleted because of it
  • Vacuum sealed bags for your clothes
  • Planning sleeping hours to avoid Jet Lag
  • Be aware of Currency Exchange places around the area you travel.
  • Airport rules 100ml limit
  • Accommodation: check out communal/kitchen utensils/water
  • Know your location well: Map (e.g. location/website of groceries shops), transportation route and timetable (e.g. train), costs (e.g. student fares, group railcard discount etc.) and length of travel (e.g. Aberdeen to Edinburgh is approx. 3 hours long)
  • Taxes – Some states in the US have Sales Tax added in addition to whatever you purchase i.e. at the cash register, you will discover you are charged extra for the cost of an item, as some shops do not display the sales tax on the price label when the item is on display.


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