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Students return from Asian Adventure

27 Mar 2017 9:30AM

A group of students from the University of Suffolk have recently returned from a five-day study trip to Japan.

The adult and child nursing students attended Keio University and linked with students from Korea and China. The University of Suffolk has been welcoming students from Japan for the past 15 years however this is the first time students have travelled to Asia to learn about healthcare practice there.

Becky Parfitt, 27 from Ipswich, is studying Adult nursing. She said “I got to see how the hospitals are run and to compare how they nurse. I was able to see the children’s ward which isn’t something I have experienced here so it was insightful to have a general overview of their nursing. Their wards are very difference, very organised, for example a nurse had her work segmented into hour slots. One of the surprises was that the drugs cupboards weren’t locked so that’s very different to here! They were shocked we had to lock ours; they work on a very trust basis over there. They are such lovely people, very respectful.”

Tom Acker, 23 from Bury St Edmunds who is studying Child Health Nursing, said “It was a great opportunity to learn about the three other countries as we mixed with students from Japan, Korea and China. We are all taught quite differently despite leaving with the same qualification in the end. It was really fascinating. I think it has made me appreciate how we are taught a lot more for example when they are on practice placement they don’t have hands on experience, it is much more observation whereas we gain a lot more practical skills. I got the opportunity to go onto one of the children’s wards and the children’s intensive care unit which gave me the opportunity to ask lots of questions and to know about how they treat children’s health.”

The students embraced Japanese culture while they were there, being shown round by their ‘buddies’ from Keio University.

Tom adds “The temples were amazing, we experienced a few ourselves and then our buddies took the three of us to a temple together and taught us the correct way to pray, giving us background to the history and heritage too.”

Fellow Child Health Nursing student, Beth Archer, 21 from Stowmarket, also went on the trip and said “I really enjoyed going out into the community, we cycled around an area of Tokyo to visit some patients and I got to see a three month old baby. It was fascinating to see the different ways the nurse interacted with the mum and the baby. The main difference I realised was how much we are able to do when we are out on placement, we can do an awful lot compared to the Japanese students who can’t touch any medicine and really just have to watch the nurse. You don’t realise how much you know and have learnt until you are talking to someone about it, they were asking us lots of questions especially as they don’t specialise in children’s nursing.”

Senior Lecturer Heather Passmore accompanied the students “It was a fantastic trip, very well organised by the nursing and medical team at Keio University. It’s part of a super global project that Keio University is funded for and the early implications already from our pilot study is that it will be repeated so that’s very exciting for students at the University of Suffolk.”

“I was able to go on the trips too and my lasting memory from my observations is looking at a schedule of community visits and seeing several visits that were afforded 90 minutes for a community visit! I think that community nurses here in Suffolk, and the UK as a whole, would long for a visit of 90 minutes, which offered many opportunities for compassionate individualised care. There were some interesting contrasts, technology being used more there than here, for example in pharmaceutical supplies to clinical areas, and perhaps we are going to follow in that respect. The healthcare system is very different and funded through insurance and direct payment so we aren’t comparing like for like, but an interesting model all the same and a chance to question our practices. It has certainly given me food for thought in questioning to what extent we are covering international, global aspects of nursing in our curricula.”

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