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

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Different Experiences, but Still Equal

Rob Swan, RN returned from his volunteer trip to Hue, Vietnam with Good Samaritan Medical Dental.  Rob helped teach a multi-module trauma and emergency medicine course to Vietnamese nurses of all specialties who are interested in moving into emergency medicine.  Below is Rob's account of his experiences while in Vietnam:

"We were welcomed with bright smiles by the coordinators of the 2012 Emergency Nursing Medical Conference in Hue, Vietnam.  After much ceremony we were introduced to our translators, some of our students and the classrooms where we'd spend the next week teaching.  The facilities were spartan, but functional, with working fans to circulate the dense tropical air.  Each day, I taught three labs of anywhere from 10 to 15 people each on trauma assessment and head to toe assessment while other RNs from the US taught courses in cardiology, pediatric emergencies, neurology, central and peripheral lines etc.  Every group was unique and it was a challenge to find the balance between cultural sensitivity and encouraging the students to actively engage in the material.  Our students were bachelors trained RNs who had volunteered to take time out of a busy schedule of work and family duties to share in the exchange of knowledge.  Some groups were quiet and reserved and others shouted out answers before I could even ask the question.  On the last day of training our translator took over and taught the last class.  My lab partner and I were emotionally moved to see her give our presentation, with her own style and subtleties.  Our Vietnamese is limited to only a few phrases but we could still easily follow along with her and were so humbled and simultaneously proud to have been a part of her life and learning experience.   
We had the opportunity to tour the affiliated hospital and were enlightened to the conditions nurses work in.  One floor boasted 60 beds but those beds were shared by 90 patients.  Only two nurses were available on nights to cover the entire unit.  It was humbling to have our own experiences put into perspective in that way.  We have a different experience here in the US but are still equal in every way to the nurses of Central Vietnam in the ways that define the RN, compassion, intelligence and a love for healing the human body and spirit.  I'm so grateful for One Nurse at a Time for facilitating this experience so that I can contribute to the international RN community but also so that I can continue to grow as an RN."





Rob Swan, RN, CEN, received a BA in biology from the University of Alaska and his BSN from Creighton University.  For five years he worked as a flight nurse in Alaska and an emergency nurse at hospitals in Louisiana, Alaska and finally Seattle where he discovered One Nurse at a Time.  He is currently enrolled in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Yale University and has volunteered the past two years teaching part of a trauma course to Vietnamese nurses with the Good Samaritan Medical and Dental Ministries.  He previously spent one year in both Seoul, South Korea and Oslo, Norway as part of his military and work duties.  In his free time he wonders at the marvel that is his four year old daughter, plays hockey and fixes cars.