International Nurses’ Day: two students talk about their experience at Mayo Clinic

On 12 May, Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, was born: today is International Nurses’ Day.

This day serves as an opportunity for nurses to speak up for themselves and to be supported and recognised as fundamental within the national health system as well as for protecting the human right to health.

Over the years, the role of the nurse has become increasingly central in the care and treatment of individuals. Today, the profession requires specific skills: after the qualification provided by the three-year degree, it is possible to enrol in the two-year Master’s Degree Course in Nursing and Midwifery Sciences.

Undertaking such a demanding course of study requires determination, enthusiasm and curiosity. This is what drove Susy Dal Bello and Alvarez Pellegrinelli to apply for the Travel Grant, the scholarships offered by Humanitas University to finance thesis projects, research or internships abroad. The students, currently enrolled in the second year of the Master’s Degree Course, had the opportunity to work at the Mayo Clinic   in Rochester, Minnesota, defined by Newsweek as “the best hospital in the world” in 2023.

At the Mayo Clinic Dal Bello and Pellegrinelli were part of a small group of seven people with different nationalities and backgrounds: two Italians, four Chinese and a Korean. The group followed a customised programme for two weeks.

“Each day,” explains Alvarez Pellegrinelli, “was characterised by a different programme which consisted of a some hours spent in the classroom, some ad hoc training events and the opportunity to meet with the healthcare personnel. The Mayo Clinic’s logo consists of three shields representing Training, Research and Practice: everyone who works there follows these principles, regardless of their role. There is a great respect for everyone’s professional expertise and ongoing training allows for the improvement of different skills. In addition, everyone can propose research projects or suggest corrections to the processes for which they are supported and assisted. The idea is that everything can be improved: if it doesn’t work, you change. We had the opportunity, as far as the clinical aspect is concerned, to work within multidisciplinary teams and to experience first-hand the standardisation of procedures, which takes place through precise guidelines. This standardisation allowed, among other things, to minimise hospitalisation times, for instance in the case of liver transplantation, which only requires five days’ hospitalisation. To this end, in addition to the commitment of the teams, it is essential to inform and educate patients throughout their treatment, which are carried out both by the healthcare staff (the Nurse educators) and through video tutorials to learn how to best manage their condition once discharged”.

The desire to learn, experiment, and open up to other realities is what motivated me to think of a project to submit for the Travel Grant,” explains Susy Dal Bello. “With Pellegrinelli, we evaluated several options, taking into consideration different centres; in the end, we selected the prestigious Mayo Clinic. I believe that building a network of relations and support,’ continues the student, ‘is fundamental for everyone’s growth and career development: it was an experience of great personal and professional value. Each health worker at the Mayo Clinic has a defined and recognised role, and every relationship is based on mutual respect and on recognizing the value and skills of others. One aspect that I found very interesting with regard to the nursing staff is that all departments have a Nurse educator, whose aim is to fill any training gaps and plan the development of each individual nurse, with a view to collective collaboration. I was able to experience an internal network that does not remain closed, but opens up to the outside world,’ Dal Bello concludes. ‘This is the nursing model I would like”.


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.