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Guest blog by current student Coral studying BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing

I have always had a huge interest in international travel so, when I heard about the opportunity to undertake an overseas elective placement here at BU, I jumped at the chance. During my third year of Adult Nursing, I had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam to work in a hospital for four weeks. Initially, I was nervous and had doubt in my ability to practice nursing in another country with a language and culture so different from my own. But when I got there, I was taken back by the beauty of the scenery and the kindness of the people.

I spent time in surgical theatres, the emergency department, oncology and a rural district hospital. The experience has allowed me to develop so many skills and I have become highly appreciative of the resources that are available throughout hospitals in the UK. The hospital and care that I saw in Vietnam was very different, I was shocked at how run down and crowded the conditions were. People must pay to receive care but there was no air conditioning, limited medications and up to three patients sharing a bed without even a mattress.

Apart from a serious lack of resources, the care that nurses provide is also very different. In England nurses are expected to provide person-centred care and there is a huge emphasis on the importance of this throughout the adult nursing syllabus. Whereas, in Vietnam the role of a nurse is more task centered. Family is expected to provide the physical and psychological care, by bringing in food and water and helping with anything that the patient cannot do themselves. If a patient has no family to bring them food and water, it is not uncommon for them to go hungry. The trip was unforgettable I would highly recommend an overseas placement to anyone looking to develop their practice in preparation for the role of a registered nurse. I have certainly missed taking my shoes and socks off and walking into the lagoon for a boat to take us to the hospital.

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