Nursing students to take skills, supplies to Indonesian hospitals
January 10, 2011 —
For nursing sophomore Elizabeth Wolf, her first hands-on nursing experience will not be at a hospital in the Tri-Cities area.
Instead, she is one of the ten SVSU nursing students who will experience traditional medicine and nursing practices in Indonesia beginning in May.
“I’ll be entering my clinical semesters with a worldwide perspective of nursing as opposed to just experiencing what we have in the United States,” said Wolf. “I have considered nursing abroad later in my career and this could aid in my decision.”
This is the first time the SVSU nursing department has traveled to Indonesia. The trip will be led by Marcia Shannon, an assistant professor of nursing, beginning May 8. For three weeks, students will explore areas of nursing that include healing practices of contemporary Western medicine and the practices of a traditional medicine man called a shaman.
During its stay, the group will travel by boat to the islands of Bali, Komodo and Borneo and will visit hospitals, rehabilitation centers, orphanages and traditional medicine outlets.
Shannon said that the rationale for the trip is that students be exposed to diverse ideas to provide competent care to people of all cultures and to participate knowledgeably in health care reform in the U.S.
She added that the health care in Indonesia is much different than in the U.S.
“Most of Indonesia’s people struggle with a public health care system that is overburdened in cities and virtually nonexistent in villages,” she said. “The challenge for Indonesia, like the U.S., is to make sure that quality care is accessible for the majority of people.”
Nursing junior Emily Butterfield is interested in visiting the shaman during the trip to learn about traditional Indonesian medical practices.
“The shaman will be able to work on a few of us and teach us about the herbs and techniques she uses on people in her area,” she said. The trip will provide the students with a new perspective to apply when they return.
“In the medical field, we deal with people from different cultures and this trip will give us great experience in dealing with that,” said nursing junior Amy Daniels.
During the trip, Shannon organized a day where the group will collaborate with Indonesian nursing students and visiting nursing students from Thailand to “share more about nursing, nursing education and the health care system in their respective countries.”
Daniels said students have been collecting medical textbooks to donate to hospitals in Indonesia.
Students will learn about giving health care to particular religious groups as well. Shannon said that Bali is mostly Hindu, but the rest of Indonesia is Muslim and that it will be a different experience for her nursing students to give “culturally relevant care to Muslims.”
For Wolf, experiencing Indonesia will be different from any of the locations she has previously been, which include Rwanda and Israel.
“The Indonesian population is largely Muslim, so it will be interesting to learn about the religion and how people interact in addition to nursing,” she said.
The group begins fundraising this month and plans to sell rubber thumb rings that say “Texting Kills.” The group chose this campaign because it will raise funds for its trip while raising awareness about the dangers of texting while driving.
Shannon said the group is prepared to share statistics with the SVSU community about how dangerous texting while driving actually is.
For example, she said that texting while driving is like driving after drinking four beers and that people are 23 times more likely to crash with texting than with alcohol.
She also said that 28 percent of accidents are now texting related.
The bands cost $1 each and are available in blue or pink in two different sizes. Students may contact Shannon to purchase a band or may visit nursing students selling the bands at various campus locations.