SCHOOL trips are always something you remember, and for Federation University third-year nurse students, Nepal was their trip of a lifetime.

Since 2017, excluding COVID years, Fed Uni has invited nursing students to do a three-week placement in southern Asia.

“This was our fifth tour. We invite third-year final-year students to put in an application to go for their last two weeks of placement in Nepal. We do it at the Memorial Adventist Hospital. We are trying to get our students to experience a different culture,” Professor Karen Missen said.

“The trip helps with interaction with the different health systems and other health professionals, and also a different culture and a different population assist in immersing the students in developing that cultural awareness and sensitivity and things that they wouldn’t see in a more westernised or another health system,” Professor Elianna Johnson added.

Nursing student Amanda Missen said it was an eye-opening experience. She added that the expectations on what to do as a nurse in a third-world country were completely different to what is seen in Australia.

Historic: Nursing students took in the sights of south east Asia.

“I noticed many nurses don’t do everything like the patient’s everyday needs – it’s the family that does it,” she said.

“It was a big shock to see that the nurses administered the medications and did their basic blood pressure because we are so hands-on (in Australia).

“It was an eye-opening experience, especially not just seeing what a hospital in a third-world country is like, but more for the cultural experience and understanding the different cultures because I had a basic background on different cultures and religions. Going to their country, seeing how it is all done, and understanding it will make me a better nurse when I start.”

According to Amanda, there were a few challenges on the trip, such as the language barrier. She said most nursing notes were in English, but all their hand-overs were in Nepali.

Amanda said that when she would say something in English, she was never really sure if her Nepali patients understood.

Although this was challenging, Amanda said the university did a good job preparing her for the trip, saying Fed Uni supplied virtual meetings with tour guides so they could understand what it would be like over there.

“Take the opportunity if you can. Just be mindful of the different cultures,” she said.

“You don’t have to read into everything, but you can step back and observe what’s around you. It’s definitely made me appreciate our healthcare system.”

Amanda said the only thing she wished she did to prepare was to ask as many questions as she could before leaving, and suggested anyone considering taking the opportunity to do the same.

Abroad: Federation University nursing students expanded their skillset with placements in Nepal. Photographs supplied

The trip was 10 days at the hospital and two days at a community reach, doing health checks.

Students got to experience a different type of ambulance service: a troop carrier with a stretcher and witnessed some births.