Nursing students from The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle spent three weeks recently trekking through the North Vietnam Highlands as part of their practicum placement.
Fourteen second-year students hiked to very remote villages in the Mai Chau region, where locals have little access to or knowledge of basic modern medicine. Whilst there, they visited hospitals, gave health assessments and taught hygiene and health education.
They also gave many medical and general supplies to the villages, including bandages, surgical equipment, gloves, toothbrushes and soap.
Nursing student Kristie Ballagh said that though sometimes the trip was hard going and demanding it was an experience that she would never forget.
“Working in the village clinics with limited resources, we had to draw on all the knowledge we had learnt over the past two years.
“At times difficult and almost always challenging, it is an experience I have come through with increased confidence in my abilities as a health care professional. After experiencing life in the villages I hope to now focus my studies towards community and public health care,” Ms Ballagh said.
Senior lecturer and group supervisor, Heather Gluyas said, “The main objective of the trip was for students to develop professionally and personally, through experiencing a health care system outside Australia and delivering care to patients where ethnicity, culture and economic and social factors are unfamiliar.”
The School of Nursing hopes to take second year students to the Mai Chau region every year so they gain valuable experience and the villages receive continuing medical support.