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CQUni students seek international healthcare experiences in Nepal

Published:25 June 2018

CQUni Bachelor of Nursing and Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) students recently participated in a mega health camp at the Ghandrunk Village, Nepal.

CQUni students are immersing themselves in the Nepalese culture to broaden their international healthcare knowledge, as part of the University’s New Colombo Plan Mobility Program.

From 18 June to 8 July, 10 CQUni Bachelor of Nursing and five Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) students are undertaking a schedule of activities tailored to each study discipline.

Team Leader and CQUni Nursing Lecturer Jenny Bassett said that Nursing students participated in a bi-annual mega health camp, held in conjunction with the Lions Club of Pokhara, Nineteen Degrees, Fishtail Hospital and local in-country host Sonam Sangpo.

“Volunteers and healthcare professionals travelled to the Ghandrunk Village, up to two hours’ drive from Pokhara and 1350 metres above sea level, to provide health assessments and education to 350 locals,” she said.

“Locals were given access to orthopaedic and gynaecology services, ear, nose and throat specialists, paediatricians, and a physician, with the support of a mobile laboratory, cardiac monitoring equipment, and pharmacy supplies.

“Students overcame the challenges of heat and humidity to undertake primary health assessments of patients before directing them to the most suitable healthcare.

“The eldest patient seen to on the day was a remarkable 93-year-old lady, who walked from three villages away to receive treatment.

"There were also many families who, after planting rice in the morning, brought their children and elderly parents along for a health assessment.”

Jenny said the entire student cohort had distributed donations, collected prior to the trip, to local children.

“The generous gifts, including hand-knitted jumpers and beanies, school books, sports equipment and colouring pencils, were gratefully received by the children,” she said.

“Students then took part in a two-night homestay with genuine and welcoming Nepalese families, who provided them with a memorable cultural experience.”

Jenny said that in the coming weeks Nursing students would continue to benefit from CQUni’s long-standing partnership with Fishtail Hospital and in-country host Sonam Sangpo.

“Fishtail Hospital will provide students with the opportunity to enhance their clinical skills and experience the challenges of delivering healthcare in a foreign environment,” she said.

“By working a rotating roster, students will be exposed to areas such as paediatrics, intensive care, medical and surgical, theatre, maternity, outpatient clinics, renal dialysis, accident and emergency, and medical imaging."

Team Leader and Social Work Lecturer Shirley Ledger said that, as part of the mega health camp, Social Work students assisted children and, on a separate occasion, visited a local school.

“Students spoke with local volunteer teachers about the importance of education and interviewed school children to learn more about their lives,” she said.

“We found that many of them share similar hopes and aspirations to their Australian counterparts – a love of music, dance and shopping.

“Many dream of becoming nurses, teachers, and engineers.”

Shirley said that Social Work students had also visited local rehabilitation, research and development organisations.

“Students spent some time at the Tibetan refugee camp and worked with the staff of Seven Women, a local non-government organisation which provides socially innovative and entrepreneurial projects, in partnership with women impacted by domestic violence, poverty, and oppression," she said.

“In the coming weeks, students will attend health lectures at Pokhara University and work with Children of Nepal counselling staff on home visits.”

Shirley said the three-week international opportunity provided CQUni students with many benefits.

“Students learn to see the word differently, develop key employability skills, expand their global network and engage with genuine life-altering experiences,” she said.

“The efforts of students have an invaluable impact on local Nepalese communities, which benefit greatly from student fundraising and clinical treatments.”

CQUni’s New Colombo Plan Mobility Program is organised through CQU Global Outbound. More details via: www.cqu.edu.au/about-us/structure/schools/nm/international-experiences-for-students