Where can your nursing studies at Sydney Uni take you? Travis Brown joined a group of fellow students who spent part of their Christmas break working in hospitals in Vietnam, and we’ve asked him about the experience.
What are you studying and how did this opportunity come about?
I'm in my first year of the Master of Nursing. Sydney Uni’s Hoc Mai Foundation approached the Sydney Nursing School to offer scholarships to study in Hanoi for one month.
Where were you based and what kind of work did you do?
I was based in Hanoi, working in a Paediatric Hospital. I elected to work in a Paediatric emergency department and an intensive care unit. The main focus was on patient assessment, emergency and intensive care nursing/interventions.
Did you get to travel in Vietnam too, or was it all work?
We were required to work 5 days a week, but individually and as a group we explored the surrounding regions of Hanoi on weekends. I also flew down to Hoi An, and explored Sapa and Ha Long Bay.
How does this opportunity relate to what you want to do after your studies?
I chose to study nursing to be able to work within the global health community in national and foreign aid. The Hoc Mai scholarship gave me an amazing opportunity to witness and experience how health care is delivered in developing countries. I became familiar with medical and trauma issues common in Vietnam. Conditions that I treated with the medical staff were said to be common in the surrounding nations and at an even higher rate in third world countries.
Do you think engagement with Southeast Asia for Australia and Sydney Uni is important?
Absolutely. As Southeast Asia is our neighbouring region, I think we have a responsibility to assist with health care in developing nations. Although a recent World Health Organisation country profile of Vietnam in 2011 found a decrease in the Maternal Mortality Ratio since the 1980s, it is still 70:100,000 live births. It is reported that this higher in the northern regions of Vietnam.
The Hoc Mai foundation has developed a maternity program that supports the remote ethnic minorities in the northern region of the Dien Bien Phu Province. This remote area has limited resources and the foundation have focused on education and training for midwives and doctors in that region. Hoc Mai has provided essential medical equipment to support staff and enhance treatment for those in such a remote area.
I‘ve also spoken to Doctors in Hanoi who’ve been to Australia through Sydney Uni’s Hoc Mai Foundation and then changed their Emergency and Intensive Care Unit practice to be reflective of practices in Australia. So our engagement with SE Asia is essential as we are capable of improving the health status of those in developing countries.
Anything else you want to mention?
My time in Vietnam has enabled me to reflect on how I’ll practice as a Nurse. Sydney University and the Hoc Mai Foundation have broadened my understanding of international public health and I look forward to becoming part of global health promotion.
Learn more about studying Nursing and Midwifery at Sydney Uni.
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