Friday, 20 January 2012
Ten graduating nursing students from Edith Cowan University (ECU) went on a cross-cultural international community practice rotation in Manila, Philippines visiting two of Arellano University's (AU) partner communities from October 18 until October 28 2011. The International community placement resulted from the expanding International Nursing Partnership (INP) between AU and ECU. The objectives of the international clinical placement for undergraduate nursing students were to enable them to experience an alternative culture and health care system and demonstrate clinical competence in the chosen areas. Likewise, the immersion enabled students to combine both traditional and western medicine health practices, which they linked to leant nursing theory to ensure evidence based practice was provided. The students reported the experience would also allow them to link what they learnt in Manila to current issues they may experience when nursing in Australia such as indigenous and refugee health.
The ECU students were Chantelle Cray, Rachel Fleming, Deborah Honig, Laura Kenyon, Olive Nzoyihera, Naomi Porter, Patrick Prunster, Rachel Smith, Angeline Stibbs and Mary Williams and they were supervised by Jacqui Sawle, Clinical Skills Facilitator. They were very privileged to be accompanied and greatly assisted by second and third year INP student from AU who will study their final undergraduate year and graduate from ECU. The students formed a very close bond and were able to learn from and teach each other.
The immersion program started with a 4-day stay in a community in Bulacan three hours north of Manila. The students were split into groups and rotated through different activities assisted by the AU students and medical staff. One group performed health assessments in the community health centre, seeing over 150 patients in 2 days. Their duties included checking the vital signs of the patients, dispensing of medicines and education for their administration, which the students were able to purchase from the $2600 they raised prior to leaving. In the public primary school clinic they had a fantastic time conducting health teaching sessions on general hygiene to the students with the grooming kits they purchased for over 200 students.
During home visitations (that involved trekking in 35 degress with 95% humidity through muddy tracks) they did family interviews, performed health assessments, dressed wounds and dispensed multivitamins to the people in the community. People found to be in need of medical attention were referred to the municipal health centre where the municipal health officer and AU medical staff were stationed. Everyone headed back to Manila for the weekend and the students enjoyed some shopping at Green Hills market, pampering at day spas and fun nights dancing.
In week two the group headed south where the amazing JoJo (the personal driver) weaved through beautiful, hilly jungle to reach Pangil, Laguna where they stayed for five days. Here the students provided nursing services such as Vitamin A administration in the community, immunization of infants (BCG,DPT and Polio) and pregnant women, TB DOTS and TB counselling , health teaching sessions on topics like nutrition, feeding program, family planning and maternal and child health. At night the students continued to team build as they sang up a storm with the resorts karaoke machine and gave swimming lessons to the AU medical staff and INP students. The students all gave very positive feedback about the experience and some even plan to go back for more missionary work in the near future.
The program was coordinated by Dr. Emerita Mendoza, Director of AU's International Nursing Program, and Professor Bernardine Navalta, Community Coordinator of AU's College of Nursing, ensuring a smooth flow of activities. Sir Rueben, a Clinical Instructor from AU also assisted over the two weeks with his vast prac experience and also as the chef for the entire rotation, allowing the students to experience amazing authentic Phillipino cuisine. Jojo was the amazing driver who saw the group arrive on time and safely to every destination, despite some hairy situations. Dr.Joaquin assisted the students as a medical staff member and impressed everyone with his angelic voice during karaoke.