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Genna's bucket list travel destination provides ultimate healthcare experience

Published:22 November 2018

Bachelor of Nursing student Genna Thurstons recently travelled to India as part of the CQUGlobal Outbound Program, with funding from New Colombo Plan.

Genna Thurstans’ dream of travelling to India was recently made possible, thanks to CQUGlobal, CQUniversity’s Student Mobility Program.

From 20 October to 3 November, Genna and eight other Bachelor of Nursing students, all funded under the Federal Government's New Colombo Plan, gained an insight into community medical conditions and treatments, and interacted with locals through the development of educational activities and presentations in care centres.

Genna said that, while in India, she was exposed to a number of health-related areas, which highlighted the fact that Australia’s healthcare system was second to none.

“I spent time in theatre, intensive care, maternity and daycare. It was interesting to read patient charts and learn about their history,” Ms Thurstans said.

“I was even able to observe an open heart surgery! Seeing someone’s life and heart right there in front of your eyes for the first time is something I will never forget.

“Given the language barriers, I learnt to communicate with staff and patients without talking, but instead using hand gestures and facial expressions.

“Through this experience, I was able to ascertain some similarities between the Australian and Indian healthcare systems, and some noticeable differences.

“Australia could definitely learn from the Intensive Care Unit in Ahmedabad – the huge windows which let in natural light were a lovely sight, and positively affected the patients on the ward.

For the Trip Team Leader, CQUniveristy Nursing Lecturer Penny Heidke, hearing what her students take away from the outbound trips was the most rewarding aspect.

“I love hearing student responses, such as Genna’s, in regards to the differences and similarities in healthcare settings. I also enjoy helping students understand and expand their clinical knowledge base,” Ms Heidke said.

“I’m lucky enough to watch students become more and more confident, not only in terms of interacting with others, but also within themselves.

“The outbound experiences that students remember and internalise are immeasurable.”

Genna said her foreign healthcare experience was something she’d never forget because it had positively impacted her life.

“After seeing the poverty, and the poorer areas of India, it has made me feel so incredibly lucky to live in Australia,” Ms Thurstans said.

“However, even though some people had nothing, they still had a smile on their face, and that goes to show we should all appreciate the smaller things in life rather than always wanting more.

“Our homes, lives and healthcare are second to none and we should all be grateful for the lives we get to live. Personally, I think it has made me a more humble person and appreciate everything I have.”

Genna praised the program and encouraged others to take advantage of the opportunity.

“If you get the opportunity to participate in an overseas nursing placement, take it! The memories and friends I made during this trip are ones that will definitely last me a lifetime,” Ms Thurstans said.

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