The European Network of Nursing in Higher Education (ENNE) brings together 14 European countries and is most famous for its annual intensive programme (IP). Each year, it’s hosted by a different member country. Last year it was Spain, this year it was Finland, and next year it will be Hungary.
Each member country sends student nurses from just one university and, in England, it’s the University of Plymouth. I had the privilege to join five other nursing students in travelling to Pori, Finland for a week of working and playing very hard!
The first two evenings of ENNE had cultural events. Each evening, seven countries gave presentations about their home nations and held tasting sessions with traditional foods. Everyone said how much it felt like the European Song Contest! It was a great icebreaker and, when the evenings finished, we got to know each other better with drinks at the hostel bar.
Every day was filled with study sessions. Each student was allocated to a study group, made up of a mix of countries. I grew very close to my group, made up of: Lauren from Scotland, Talitha from the Netherlands, Lieze from Belgium, Veronika from Finland, Valerie from Austria, Adéla from the Czech Republic, Mireia from Spain, Josy from Germany, and me.
The sessions were spent working on different projects, and each one was assessed differently. For instance, we designed and presented a poster on the ideal nurse. We also had to design a care plan for a hypothetical patient with a list of symptoms. In another task, we compared and contrasted nursing in our different countries.
Most days had at least one cultural activity, so that we could get to know Finland. One day, there was a walking tour of area, including visits to hospitals. Another day, we had a traditional meal of reindeer meat (I’m a vegetarian, so I had the salad!). There was a whole afternoon and evening allocated to going into the forest for lake swimming, hiking, sauna and hot tub. It was incredible. We rounded off that evening with marshmallows and songs around the bonfire, but most nights we finished with drinks at the hostel.
The final night, we attended a formal meal and drinks reception, where the tutors from each country played the annual round of musical chairs. The competition was fierce, but Minna from Finland deserved the win! Knowing we were all leaving the next day, my friends and I became quite emotional. I didn’t know I could make such good friends so quickly. I’m so lucky to have had some of them visit me in Plymouth since, and we’re all still in touch.
It was a life-changing experience, and I envy whoever goes to the ENNE IP 2019! More than that, though, I’m so grateful that the University of Plymouth is a member, and I actually got the chance to go.
Find out more about ENNE and the IP: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/schools/school-of-nursing-and-midwifery/european-network-of-nursing-in-higher-education