The recruitment and retention of health professionals in rural, remote, and northern regions is an ongoing challenge. The Northern Nursing Education Network brought together nursing students working in rural and remote regions of the circumpolar north in Innovative Learning Institute on Circumpolar Health (ILICH) events to create opportunities for shared learning and expose both students and faculty to local and traditional knowledge that informs health behaviors specific to regions with Indigenous populations. Using participant experience data extracted from program discussions, evaluations, and reflective notes conducted after ILICH events held in 2015?2017, this paper explores how these two-week institutes can contribute to knowledge that is locally relevant yet transferable to rural areas across the circumpolar north. The findings clustered around experiences related to (1) Language as a barrier and an enabler; (2) shared values and traditions across borders; (3) differences and similarities in nursing practice; (4) new perspectives in nursing; and (5) building sustainable partnerships. Students learned more about their own culture as well as others by exploring the importance of language, cultures, and health inequity on different continents. Shared values and traditional knowledge impacted student perspectives of social determinants of health that are highly relevant for nurses working in the circumpolar north.
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