Due to globalization, there is a need for nurses with skills and competence in providing safe, competent and culturally appropriate care. The aim of the study was to investigate whether International Study Experiences (ISE) in other countries during basic nursing education had an impact on newly graduated nurses as regards to self-reported competence. Moreover, a second aim was to explore what background factors that facilitated or constituted a hindrance for nursing students to choose to conduct part of their basic nursing education abroad. At 11 Universities/University Colleges (henceforth called Higher Education Institutions [HEIs]) in Sweden, 565 nursing students responded to the Nurse Professional Competence (NPC) Scale. Students with ISE rated their competence significantly higher on three NPC competence areas—“Legislation in nursing and safety planning”, “Leadership and development of nursing” and “Education and supervision of staff/students”. Background factors that significantly seemed to enhance ISE were living alone, not having children or other commitments in relation to family, international focus at the HEI and previous international experience. Lack of financial means was reported to prevent students from choosing ISE. The study implies that several background factors are of importance whether students choose ISE or not. ISE during basic nursing education might result in better self-reported competence in leading and developing nursing care, including education of future nurses, and in providing safe care.
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