The experiences of Western expatriate nursing educators teaching in Eastern Asia

Carolyn S. Melby, Joan E. Dodgson, Marie Tarrant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe the lived experience of English-speaking Western nurse educators teaching in East Asian countries. Design: The study design was an application of existential phenomenological approach to qualitative data collection and analysis. Eight expatriate nurse educators who had taught more than 2 years in an East Asian country were interviewed about their experiences between January 2004 and November 2005. Methods: Narrative data were analyzed using a phenomenological approach aimed at distilling the experience of the educators. Each member of the research team analyzed the data, then through group discussions a consensus was reached, paying close attention to developing clear understandings of language nuances and maintaining the participants' voices. Findings: Four themes emerged from the data: (a) differing expectations, (b) the cost of the expatriate experience, (c) bridging pedagogies, and (d) adapting and finding purpose. The tacit meanings of cultural differences affecting participants' experiences are presented. Conclusions: The ways that a collectivist-oriented culture may affect nurse educators coming from a Western individualist worldview needs to continue to be researched to develop better mutual understandings that will lead to culturally collaborative models of nursing practice, education and research. Clinical Relevance: Nurses providing direct care and nurse educators who work with people from cultures other than their own will find the discussion of cross-cultural misunderstandings useful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-183
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-cultural
  • Education
  • International
  • Phenomenology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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