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Overseas trip a hit with USC nursing students

8 Mar 2018

USC Nursing Science student Devi Dobe knew she would never be making a long-lasting impact on a patient she was caring for in a remote Indonesian village outside Yogyakarta.

It was an important moment for Devi, who was one of 20 students on USC’s first accredited overseas clinical placement for Nursing Science undergraduates at the end of last year.

“We couldn’t cure him,” Devi said. “We couldn’t improve his health. But in that instant, we made a huge difference to his level of comfort.

“That for me was the most important moment of the trip.”

That story is just one of many poignant moments the USC nursing students experienced when they spent three weeks helping deliver healthcare to five remote villages around central Java’s Dlingo district.

It was a trip that Jess Albertson, 20, described as ‘the best placement’ she has ever done.

“Because they are remote, communities don’t always have access to the healthcare they require,” Jess said.

It was this health care gap that encouraged USC’s School of Nursing to collaborate with Antipodeans Abroad and Karima Health Care Community, which led to the implementation of the rural health-assessment clinics.

“Being a part of that, delivering healthcare to isolated communities, felt very rewarding,” Jess said.

USC Lecturer in Nursing Matt Mason, who helped organise the placement, said students had to learn about managing interpersonal relationships in a work environment.

“We were living together for the three weeks, so students got to know each other really well, which might not happen when doing a placement in Australia,” Mr Mason said.

Senior Lecturer in Nursing Dr Debbie Massey would like the overseas placement to become a permanent option for USC Nursing Science students.

“In the meantime, we have support to undertake a small research project exploring whether the placement enabled students to apply the principles of social justice, which underpins the curriculum in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine,” Dr Massey said.

Most of the students who participated were funded through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program.

- Tom Snowdon

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