Adventure of a lifetime in Laos

June 30, 2011

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Picture courtesy of Stock

Ten Bachelor of Nursing students from Murdoch University have just embarked on a journey to the remote Seuang Valley, north of the UNESCO heritage town of Luang Prabang, Laos.

There, they will conduct mobile health clinics and treat villagers under the watchful eye of two supervising staff from Murdoch and local health practitioners.

One of the supervising lecturers, Caroline Nilson, said: “The students will participate in client health and physical assessment, home visits, health education and health promotion to school children and adults, basic first aid training to villagers, skills development training to local health practitioners and needs analysis assessment of regional health provision and health data collection.”

Students will have the opportunity to examine the social, environmental, economic and political influences on contemporary community nursing in a unique culturally diverse environment where health care provision is usually very basic and resources are limited.

“The students will engage in delivering health promotion and health education to benefit the villagers and the local health practitioners to assist the community to develop important health literacy,” Ms Nilson said.
Students will health screen pregnant women to determine maternal and foetal health as well as assess health of newborns and mothers.

“Students will be assessed on their ability to educate women and their families on the nutritional needs of newborns and infants to ensure normal development,” she said.

“They will also be required to keep a clinical portfolio which is a tool for student reflection where they can document their caring practices.”

For the most part the program is self-funded by the students, but fundraising and sponsorships are encouraged.  The School of Nursing and Midwifery was also successful in applying for a mobility grant through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, which will support the students with their expenses.

The students will stay in Laos for three weeks. This is the first time Murdoch University nursing students have taken this trip, but it is hoped that through working with program partners Antipodeans Abroad, the Laos trip will become an ongoing opportunity for students each year.

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