Be the change you want to see in the world. ~ Ghandi

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


One Nurse board member, Kristi Whiton recently participated as an Ambassador for a People to People program to China. Her her own words, Kristi talks about her experience:

"After receiving a Emergency Nursing Associations invitation for an Emergency and Trauma Nursing People to People Ambassadors Program in the mail, traveling to China seemed like an adventure and education all at the same time. I talked my mother Linda Lemberg Ross RN, MSN into traveling with me, as she is also a former Emergency Nurse and currently a nursing instructor at a local community college. After many months of preparation, visa's and other necessary paperwork for the People to People Ambassador's Program- we were finally ready to leave September 3rd, 2011.

Our trip started us in Seattle, WA through San Francisco to our first stop in Beijing, China. We would be traveling from September 3rd until September 15th, 2011. Our travel partners included Emergency nurses from around the nation, several RN's from California, New York, Massachusetts,Virgina, Texas, and Montana. Our delegation leader was William Briggs, RN 2009 Emergency Nurse's Association past-president.

In Beijing we experienced both the cultural and nursing aspects of Chinese people. We spent time with pre-hospital personnel, Emergency Nurses, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese Nurse's Association and the Chinese Medical Association. We toured the pre-hospital training and main ambulance center, and Peking's University's People's Hospital.

Our cultural days in Beijing were spent visiting Tienanmen square, Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. Our eating experiences were traditional Chinese delicatessens. We enjoyed local restaurants, such as the famous Peking Duck Restaurant Da Dong and some of the nurse's ventured as far as trying fried scorpion's!

Our second stop was a short 3 hour flight to the south, to a smaller city of Guiyang. This city was considered more rural, with about 4 million people inhabiting the city center. Most of the Chinese people had never seen many tourists visit this city, so our arrival prompted many pictures from the local teenage girls and stares from the older Chinese people.

Our trip incorporated a venture to the Guiyang Medical University, and one of the local vocational schools farther outside of the central city of Guiyang. The trips to the university and vocational school were the highlight of the trip. Learning about their educational system, visiting their school rooms, and their laboratory's were fascinating. The welcome we received from the student nurses was unbelievable. At the vocational school, the school was set high in the mountains, about an hour and half away from Guiyang. It was a a very remote and peaceful setting. One of our highlights was when the entire nursing school of students (200-300) nurse's were screaming and yelling in delight when our bus pulled up to the front gate. The student nurse's who guided us through their campus were dressed in their white uniform's and white caps, the reception was overwhelming.

One of the benefits of the People to People Ambassadors trip is the option to extend your trip to visit other cities of China. My mother and I decided to extend and our visit included Xi'an and Kunming. These last 4 days were cultural days only, and we spent a majority of the time visiting cultural wonders such as the Terracota Army, City Wall of Xi'an, and Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of the Terracotta Army and his mausoleum is just to the east of Xi'an almost immediately after his ascension to the throne. The City Wall of Xi'an was constructed in the 14th century, and the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is over 1000 years old. All of these sites were absolutely breathtaking and spectacular to visit.

In Kunming, my mother went solo (with the rest of the group) to visit this city. Being 6 1/2 months pregnant, I decided to take a day of rest and fly back to Beijing to wait for the rest of the group to return to Beijing and then prepare for our flight back to the states. One of the major sites they visited was the Kunming Stone Forest. The day was hot and the sites were unbelievable. The tall rocks seem to protrude from the ground in a similar way that stalagmites do in caves, many of them appear like petrified trees, which creates the illusion of a forest made of stone."

Kristi Whiton, ONAAT Board Member