Trip to Vietnam Lets Student Practice Nursing in the Real World

Minh Nguyen and Dr. Linda Cronenwett

Minh Nguyen has just returned from a summer trip to Vietnam that was part of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing’s .  He was the recipient of the Cronenwett Global Study Award, created by a private gift to honor Dean Emerita Linda H. Cronenwett.  Read about his experience:

Prior to the trip, I knew there was a big gap between the health care systems of Vietnam and the US. Among the differences, the lack of infection control posed the biggest threat to the health and safety of the patients. The hospitals in Vietnam are overcrowded and lack resources, and overuse of antibiotics has increased infection rates.

Because of these problems I wanted to do a project to reduce the infection rate by increasing hand washing compliance since hand washing has proved to be the most effective, and simplest, method. My plan was to spend a week observing at a hospital in Vinh city, another week for planning the interventions and the rest of the time implementing and evaluating those interventions.

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Preventing and Managing Chronic Conditions–International Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, March 23-25, 2011

The UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing is co-sponsoring the Second International Conference on Prevention and Management of Chronic conditions and the World Congress on Self-care Deficit Nursing Theory that will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, March 23 – 25 2011. The conference will focus on the role of the individual, family and community in preventing and managing chronic conditions. The program is organized by the Faculty of Nursing, Mahidol University and can be viewed at:


Preliminary Program

Managing Chronic Illness Conference: Bangkok Thailand 2011

Carolina nursing student volunteers in Mexican village health clinic

Amy Davenport is a Carolina BSN student who is volunteering in the Oaxacan village of Teotitlan del Valle this summer at the public health clinic.  Her writing is extraordinary and captures the essence of village life and the practices of another culture.  I hope you will be captivated by her stories, as I am.

Scholarship Awarded to BSN Student Amy Davenport

Chapel Hill News, May 4, 2010 –

Amy Davenport was awarded The Carolina Experience Enrichment Scholarship (CEES) for their summer enrichment opportunities. Davenport and Littauer each were given $1,500; Neal was given $500.

Davenport, a senior nursing major is a transfer, non-traditional student who has already completed the Master of Public Health degree at UNC Chapel Hill.   She chose to enroll in the traditional 24-month nursing school option so she could participate in the summer externship program.

During the summer, Davenport will be volunteering in Teotitlan del Valle, Mexico, to work with the nurses at the Centro de Salud. There, Davenport will promote the health and well-being of the people served by the clinic, help nurses in providing care at the health clinics and assessing the need and desire to establish a more intensive UNC volunteer presence in the community.

BSN Degree is Baseline for Practice in Europe

David Benton, CEO of the International Council of Nurses spoke with faculty and graduate students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during his visit on April 20-22, 2010.  In answer to a question about why the U.K. requires all practicing nurses to have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree in nursing, Benton explained that this is a European Union general systems directive that allows nurses to move freely among member states.  Qualifications are standard to provide flexibility of movement.  Nursing programs, in fact, must provide a minimum of three years of education with 2,300 practice hours and 2,300 theory hours.  In 2005, the professional services directive was updated to focus on competence measures.

Wales moved to an all graduate RN level requirement after this.  Scotland undertook to examine the profession of nursing and compare it to educational requirements for entry-level practice of medicine and law.  They determined that the work that nurses did was of equal or greater value and required equal or greater competence than medicine and law.  Yet, the educational qualifications were lower, which they concluded, reflected the role of women and how they are valued in society.  These are political decisions, says Benton.

At the diploma level, the Scottish evaluation concluded that nursing required a much higher level of competence than the medical degree, yet the educational requirements were not commensurate.  Benton asks, are we undervaluing what we already have?  What are we asking the RN to do?  We must award educational degrees that value nursing competency.  There is an advantage to students undertaking an advanced diploma because it centers around quality of care.  There are quality issues around failure to rescue when students are not educated at the BSN level.  The data is powerful around quality and patient impact.

The politics of nursing is powerful.  Benton gave the example of the African country of Botswana that imported a U.S. degree program for advanced practice.  In the U.S.,  students were awarded the MSN after completing the program.  In Botswana, they were awarded the BSN program.  He raises the question of undervaluing the profession based upon politics and culture.

RNs can work in a variety of job arenas, but acute care hospitals are highly specialized environments.  Employers expect expertise.  There must be a close dialog between the educators and those providing the service to debate how to design the best system.  We need exemplary role models and we need to promote and provide more education to the people who demonstrate competency.

In the U.K., women have been disadvantaged.  Benton has practiced with highly qualified nurses who could not afford a university education and were not able to get a baccalaureate education.  If we can link educational opportunities through technology to combine resources and strengths, we will be better able as health care professionals,  to sustain communities in remote and rural areas, he concludes.

And, there is a big concern as our population ages about whether we will get enough students to fill the need.  In the U.K. people are coming into nursing for second, third and even fourth careers.  We need to make nursing education accessible, affordable, and high quality.  Do we need to create alternative or hybrid educational models?  How can a student do scholarly work, for example, if their nursing degree program is not university-based?

David Benton, International Council of Nurses CEO, Talks About What We Can Learn From Asia

Asia cannot be defined as one entity.  It is comprised of hugely diverse cultures with many different languages spoken.  We can learn many things from Japan, China, Korea and Thailand, for example.  There are big differences between these countries.  Benton has noticed that Japanese and Korean colleagues have the ability to stop, think through an issue, have a reasoned discussion, make a dceision and then mobile for action.  There is first a lot of debate and discussion, and then there is movement to get something done.   Benton compares this with nursing in the U.S. and the U.K. where he observes that as a profession we are not aligned.  He says we must be able to mobilze nursing around a set of principles to bring influence to bear on the system.  A fluent Spanish-speaker, he has spent a lot of time in Central and Latin America, where he also says that debate is important to the change process.

International Nursing Expert Talks About Quality and Patient Safety

David Benton, CEO of the International Council of Nursing, came to Chapel Hill tis week to discuss nursing in the global health arena.  Benton’s education and practice is U.K. based.  He served as executive director of nursing at a London health authority, as senior civil servant in Northern and Yorkshire regions, as CEO of a Scotland nurse regulatory body, and nuyrse director of a University Trust Health System.  Benton was presented with a 2001 Fellowship of the Florence Nightengale Foundation, and in 2003 was awarded a Fellowshio of the Royal College of Nursing for his work in health and nursing policy.

David Benton is a vocal advocate for identifying and promoting nurses who serve as role models for their peers and new nurses.  Quality is based on having enough time in a health system for people to learn from each other, he states.  Health care systems, he goes on to say, are streamlining to reduce overlap and costs and the opportunities to teach and learn are reduced.  We need to expose our peers to excellence in practice.  If you haven’t seen it, how can you emulate it?, he asks.  The Registered Nurse needs the time to spend with the patient group and we must celebrate the success of each nurse to excels, putting them front and center so people can see what they are doing, sharing their story, promoting their example.  Quality in health care depends upon the information flow and the physical layout, and it also requires champions.  We must put the same emphasis on clinical governance as we do on financial governance, and always ask the question, How can we do better?

SON to Be Site of Hong Kong/UNC Nursing Discussions

The School of Nursing will be the site of in-depth research conversations on Feb. 5, 2010. Five delegates from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, with whom the SON has a Memorandum of Understanding, will be at the School to discuss many areas in which both institutions intend to collaborate in the future.

Most of the dialogue will focus on end-of-life care, geriatrics, pressure ulcer management, oncology, peri-operative nursing, cognitive impairment, leadership, ethics and legal issues and psychiatric-mental health.

Two main events are planned for Feb. 5. The Hong Kong delegation will make a presentation on the research agenda of their school from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in L700 in the new addition of Carrington Hall. Immediately following the presentation, SON faculty will have the opportunity to engage the Hong Kong delegation in discussions about mutual teaching and research interests. Associate Professor Jennifer Leeman will facilitate these conversations from 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Associate Professor Ed Halloran, who spent two years at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, will host.

Esther Mok, professor and associate head (postgraduate studies and management) will lead the Hong Kong delegation. She is also a researcher and lecturer in end-of-life care.  She serves on the review panel of the Hong Kong Nursing Journal and the Asian Journal of Nursing Studies and is on the International Advisory Board for the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

Enid Kwong, associate professor and chair of the School Research Committee, has research interests in geriatric care and pressure ulcer management.

Shirley Ching is an assistant professor and the program leader of the full-time government-funded Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Nursing that has more than 800 students. With a focus on cancer nursing, she received the Young Investigator Award 2001 from the Hong Kong International Cancer Congress.

Justina Liu currently teaches undergraduate gerontological nursing and serves as the deputy program leader of the full-time government-funded BSN program. She also oversees student exchange with institutions in Australia, Europe and North and South Americas. Liu’s interests include peri-operative nursing, surgical nursing and management of behavioral problems in people with cognitive impairment.

Frederick Yeung is the program leader of the newly operated full-time government-funded Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Mental Health Nursing. He teaches undergraduate subjects in healthcare leadership roles and management functions, ethical and legal aspects and mental health nursing. Yeung has served The Hong Kong College of Mental Health Nursing as the president and council member since 1999. His research focus is in mental health nursing and nursing management.

Bagels, Pennies & Crafts: School of Nursing Supports Haitian Relief Efforts

On Jan. 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti. The earthquake destroyed most of the country’s homes and buildings and killed, according to the most recent government estimates, more than 111,000 people.

In the nearly two weeks that have followed, organizations from around the world have scrambled to provide monetary, medical and humanitarian aid to the victims of this tragedy. The School of Nursing and its students are no different.

In response to the most immediate need for money among nonprofit relief organizations, the School has coordinated several fundraising efforts that will send much‐needed funds to the organizations on the ground that are struggling to work their way through the sick and injured.

Students and faculty have partnered with several nonprofit groups through a variety of activities that will be on‐going over the next several months. All proceeds collected will go to support the work that Doctors Without Borders, the American Red Cross and locally‐managed Family Health Ministries are doing in Haiti.

Every Friday between Jan. 22 and Feb. 26, students, faculty and staff can buy baked goods to support Doctors Without Borders. Panera Bread agreed, through a student‐led effort, to donate items for the fundraiser. Each item will cost $2, with a morning and an afternoon opportunity to purchase assorted baked goods.

“We spend so much time with people here who need help,” said Elissa Poor, BSN Class of 2011. “We’re just trying to figure out the best ways to help people from afar.”

In addition to the bake sale, the School will also host two Global Craft Fairs in support of the work that Family Health Ministries (FHM) does in Haiti. Directed by Nancy Walmer, PNP ’00, this nonprofit organization has a long‐standing presence in Haiti, and all of its clinics suffered some degree of damage in the earthquake, with the Leogane clinic being fully destroyed.

FHM ( develops long‐term relationships with underserved individuals and groups and assists them, in culturally relevant ways, to learn to help themselves. In Haiti, FHM supports programs in maternal‐child health, nutrition, education and church development.

Faculty members Jean Davison and Sonda Oppewal helped collect and load medical supplies needed to replenish the resources lost by Family Health Ministries in the earthquake.

Faculty, staff and students are donating their artistic, international craft items for sale. The crafts fairs will be held on Feb. 1 and Feb. 4 with all proceeds to go to FHM.

FHM is also accepting medical supplies (nothing perishable) to replenish its lost resources. Please visit the Web site for specific information.

There are also opportunities for faculty, staff and students to contribute to the relief effort even if their schedules do not allow them to participate in organized events. Collection buckets have been placed strategically throughout the School to collect loose change for “Pennies for Haiti,” an effort that will provide financial assistance to the American Red Cross presence in the country.

Faculty member Andrea Biondi organized this effort after her daughter became involved with a similar activity in her school. There is currently a friendly competition underway to see which school can collect the most money. The Association of Nursing Students (ANS) is also participating in “Pennies for Haiti.”

ANS, however, isn’t limiting its relief‐effort activities to SON‐led endeavors. As a group, ANS has also joined with the University community in One Effort Haiti, a student‐organized plan to raise funds alongside the Campus Y committee, Extended Disaster Relief, in which students donate to Doctors Without Borders through their student ID numbers.

Even individuals are pitching in to make a difference. Graduate student Nanci Sullivan‐Blackert is collecting medical supplies for Joy in Hope (, a nonprofit faith‐based organization that supports Haitian families. Similarly, faculty member Marcia Van Riper helped collect health kits that her church will send to Haiti.

SON officials anticipate that additional projects and efforts will be added in the coming months. For additional information, contact Sonda Oppewal at

Two SON Students Provide Care in Poor Areas of Guatemala

BSN Class of 2010 students Molly White and Courtney Cox traveled to Guatemala during summer 2009 to provide care for people living in the poor areas of the country, particularly in Guatemala City and the surrounding villages.

With guidance from assistant professor Chris Harlan, White and Cox

BSN Class of 2010 students Molly White (left) and Courtney Cox (right) worked for six weeks in Guatemala City, Guatemala as a summer externship experience.

BSN Class of 2010 students Molly White (left) and Courtney Cox (right) worked for six weeks in Guatemala City, Guatemala as a summer externship experience.

coordinated their trip through a Texas-based medical mission organziation called Shared Beat. For six weeks, they operated clinics, provided various types of screenings and distributed medications to people who have very little or no access to healthcare, many of whom had never visited a healthcare provider before.

Shared Beat operates the medical mission in cooperation with Safe Passage, a school open near the main city dump in Guatemala. Guatemala City is a very poor, violent place, and Safe Passage offers children an oasis where they can learn, get a healthy meal and participate in social activities. Many of the childrens’ parents collect recyclables and other materials that they can sell from the city dump.

The Guatemala city dump where many of the parents of children who participate in Safe Passage collect recylcables and other materials for money.

The Guatemala city dump where many of the parents of children who participate in Safe Passage collect recyclables and other materials for money.

White, Cox and the other healthcare provider volunteers on the trip also did home visits in many of the small surrounding villages. A pediatric cardiologist accompanied them on these visits. The majority of people in these villages were living in primitive conditions. Many allow their chickens and other livestock to run free through their dwellings. Often, according to White and Cox, the animals looked and behaved sickly. Unfortunately, the sick chickens were also the only source of eggs and meat for many people.

White and Cox said that it was satisfying to be able to help individuals who have never had

Molly White (right) sits and talks with a man who has come into the clinic in Safe Passage to receive healthcare services.

Molly White (right) sits and talks with a man who has come into the clinic in Safe Passage to receive healthcare services.

access to healthcare before. Traveling to Guatemala either with Shared Beat or through the School of Nursing is something both students recommended to anyone considering a global study externship.


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