Nurses travel thousands of miles to learn vietnamese health care
Student nurses from the United Kingdom are enjoying a taste of Asia and learning about the Vietnamese healthcare system.
Nine nurses in total are working at the Việt Nam-Germany Hospital in Hà Nội.
This is the second year students from Birmingham University in the Midlands have visited Việt Nam on the fact-finding mission.
And while they say there are many similarities between healthcare in the two countries, one thing they have noticed is how hard local staff work in the hospital here.
Second year student Katherine James said: “It’s different. We say we’re understaffed in the UK; it’s nothing compared to here.
“Intensive care units here have three nurses taking care of eight patients whereas back in the UK we have 12 patients but it’s one nurse per patient.
“You can tell the difference between the cultures, there’s more an emphasis of family’s helping whereas in the UK, we don’t have that.
“Việt Nam has the same principles as we do in the UK. Patient care is paramount.”
Fellow student nurse Danielle Burnett, also from Birmingham University, added: “They’re looking into research, they’re keen to learn from other countries. And, there are similarities, but it is just sometimes different approaches as well. It’s just quite interesting.”
And it’s not just the students who are learning. Staff at the Việt Nam-Germany Hospital also see the benefits from working alongside their English counterparts.
Nurse Phạm Thị Ngọc said: “After a while working with Kate and Denielle, I find several interesting points.
“I get to know the differences in nursing between the UK and Việt Nam.
“Besides, I know more about the cultural differences between the UK and Việt Nam.
“For the skills, the UK nurses mainly observe, they do not practise. They are second year students, hence most of the time I instruct them how to do the nursing work here, some differences and some nursing work that they may have never got the chance to practise.”
This year, the students from the UK are from two nursing backgrounds, surgical and patient care.
Việt Nam-Germany Hospital’s Nursing Manager Trần Văn Oánh said the co-operation programme between Birmingham University and the Việt Nam-Germany Hospital started in 2014.
Co-operation activities have two main contents. Besides visits from UK students, Birmingham experts also come to the hospital to train staff and help the hospital in medical practice.
“Officials and staff from the hospital go to Birmingham to study and share experience as well,” he said.
“The standard nursing environment in the UK is for professional hospital staff to take care of the patients. But in Việt Nam, there’s a slight difference that is the care still requires help from relatives.
“For example, feeding, changing clothes and basic hygiene. If patients’ families are able, they can help the hospital.
“The second difference lies in the precision at each stage. In the UK, the number of professional nurses is quite sufficient, abundant. But in Việt Nam it’s the opposite.
“Hence it’s more difficult to meet patients’ needs.”
Family support was also something new for the visiting students.
“We don’t get that in the UK at all,” Katherine added.
“As nurses, you know, we are expected to do everything in the UK for a patient, whereas here they rely on family care.” — VNS
Paul Kennedy and Thu Hà/Viet Nam News