Weiss Memorial Hospital welcomed eight nurses from the Netherlands who are studying to become Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs). A trip abroad to learn more about healthcare and the role of nursing in other countries is part of their degree requirement.

To encourage nurses to pursue the desirable APN degree, the Dutch government, together with several universities in the Netherlands, now sponsors international trips to the U.S. and Canada as part of the two-year curriculum.  As well as increasing the number of APNs, the free study abroad requirement fosters knowledge sharing and encourages international relationships.

Group of Dutch nurses

“This was a wonderful opportunity for Dutch nurses to shadow Weiss APNs and experience firsthand healthcare in the United States,” says CNO Dina Lipowich, MSN, RN, NEA-BC who visited the Netherlands last year as part of a similar program. She was eager to share her positive learning experience with our hospital. “Weiss offers a diverse example of specializations from orthopedic and gender surgeries to geriatric care and rehabilitation.  The excellence of our Weiss clinical team and the family atmosphere of our community hospital were praised by our visiting professional counterparts.”

She notes that we also learned a great deal from the Dutch nurses including perspectives on wellness, disease prevention, and importance of community for healthy aging.

Dina shares examples of a few differences between Dutch and American healthcare:

  • The Dutch Healthcare system is praised for being one of the finest in the world. The system is described as “Universal Healthcare” and mandates that all adults living or working in the Netherlands pay a small amount for basic health coverage, including doctor visits and hospital care.
  • Nursing education and professional development of clinical staff has also been rapidly evolving in the Netherlands and is on pace with the United States. The scope of nursing practice is shifting from basic physical care under the order of a provider to nurses coordinating complex treatments and navigating care across the continuum.  Dutch hospitals and universities partner in recognizing that the future quality of their healthcare system will depend on their continued investment in nursing professionals.

Our new Dutch nursing friends were very appreciative of the opportunity to visit Weiss.  “You’re very open, and very proud of your hospital. It feels a little bit like family. I feel very welcomed. It’s warm. Very nice,” said visiting Dutch nurse Neinke Hesseling.


On Wednesday, October 30, 2019, Weiss once again welcomed visitors from the Netherlands. The group of 11 Dutch nurse practitioners and administrators met with Weiss leadership, physicians and front-line nursing staff to learn more about U.S. healthcare and to share ideas and best practices.  CNO Dina Lipowich, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, who visited the Netherlands last year as part of a similar program, had the privilege of welcoming many of the same individuals she met a year ago. Watch the video to catch a glimpse of the special day.

Video: https://youtu.be/Pkz4kDrzPJI