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

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Empowering Vietnamese Nurses

Staci Swan, RN just returned from Vietnam after traveling with the organization Good Samaritan Medical Dental Ministry.  The organization as a whole does mission work in rural Vietnam, but this particular aspect of their mission is to promote emergency medicine in Vietnam and helping the medical community develop this as a true specialty. Staci taught a pediatric emergency module, specifically addressing common emergencies and pediatric trauma.  She also traveled with her husband Rob who is an ER nurse.  You can read about his experience here.

In Staci's own words:  "Having just turned 28 I have traveled throughout the US and Canada, but had never gone what I would call truly international. Boy, this was a great place to start! My husband and I, the healthcare duo that we are, were welcomed so warmly to Vietnam by such grateful nurses. Though I feel very comfortable as a pediatric ER nurse in the US, I was very nervous about teaching the subject. As the interpreter and I lectured on pediatric emergencies, the passion and intrigue radiated from the class so much that it was nearly impossible to adhere to our time limit. I had to propose completely new and additional lectures just to cover all the incredible questions they asked.  We were empowering Vietnamese nurses- discussing the necessity for sharp observations in the pediatric population and offering avenues for nurses to be more autonomous and anticipatory with patient care.  It was clear by their spoken and unspoken responses that our group had much to offer Vietnam healthcare and their future in emergency medicine and were already making a noticeable impact."

"The few hours a day when we weren't teaching I roamed the streets wide-eyed, and one thing that put a smile on my face was walking through the street markets and having Vietnamese children gather around me or pass by practicing their English skills, "Hi" or "Hello!", while I in turn practiced my poor Vietnamese, “Xin Chao!” Visiting the local orphanage was also a valuable experience to us. These well cared for children performed a fashion and dance show for us so happily and the older ones made us dinner at the restaurant owned by the orphanage. When the kids reach the appropriate age, they learn the responsibility of the workplace by cooking and serving at their restaurant which had fabulously delicious food. We felt so healthy after eating meals in Vietnam, a welcome change from the remorse after a heavy American meal."
"I look forward to 29 and building on the foundation we have set for international emergency medicine in Vietnam and elsewhere. Kids rock!"


Staci Swan is a certified pediatric emergency nurse born and raised in the Cajun Heartland, but now rugged Fairbanks, Alaska is her home. It’s been almost six years since she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Louisiana State University and subsequently has worked in emergency departments in five states. She is currently employed at Yale-New Haven Hospital in the pediatric emergency department while her husband, Rob, is pursuing his graduate degree in nursing at Yale University. In addition to volunteering in Vietnam with One Nurse at a Time, they are both are committed to volunteering with the Alaska Summer Research Academy. She has also tutored for Goodwill Industries and volunteered at a shelter in New Orleans, LA, post Hurricane Katrina. She especially loves pediatric medicine and soon plans to pursue an advanced degree as a pediatric nurse practitioner, while continuing my volunteer efforts locally and internationally.