March 10, 2013

The capstone study abroad in Hong Kong for two weeks was an amazing experience. We did a lot in two weeks and we all wished we could have stayed longer. The contrast and fusion of eastern and western cultures are everywhere, from the architecture to cultural habits. People were extremely friendly and helpful in the hospitals, schools and even on the streets. Although not everyone spoke English, most people did and were willing to help.

It was very interesting to hear about the local’s perspective about their universal health system and about nursing in Hong Kong. Being immerged in their culture helped us think about the struggles they may have.

We learned that hospital quality control such as patient identification, medication errors, and falls are extremely challenging there. These challenges are better understood when we take in consideration a few facts: government hospitals are free for citizens, there is a local culture of doctor shopping, and quick patient turn over is necessary to serve the large demand. Thus he nurse-patient ratio is high, about 1 nurse for 10 patients in the pediatric unit, which makes harder for them to provide safe care.

We also learned and experienced some traditional Chinese medicine, which is widely practice in Mainland China, but less practiced in Hong Kong. The schooling takes 5 years and students have to go to the mainland to do clinical during the last year because Hong Kong only have small Chinese Medicine clinics and no hospitals.

This is a program for those who would like to travel, meet people from different countries, try new foods, learn about international nursing practices, and explore exotic places.

-Ellen Tsugami-Mercer