Romanian placement showed me the importance of sharing knowledge
An elective placement in Romania taught nursing student Tara Lally about the importance of education and sharing knowledge
An elective placement in Romania taught nursing student Tara Lally about the importance of education and sharing knowledge.
In my final year of learning disability nursing at Queen's University, Belfast, I travelled to Romania with a team of nursing students for our 4-week elective placement.
I had the opportunity to spend a week in four different areas: the county hospital, a hospital for babies with dystrophy, a hospice, and a child protection institution for children with learning disabilities.
In the children's institution, I was able to make a difference to patient care. The staff were receptive to the similarities and differences between our cultures, and recognised the influence a national health service can have on the perception of society’s responsibility of care.
Before leaving for Romania, the other students and I held fundraising events at university. We used some of the money raised to provide toys and clothing for Romanian children, and when we were over there we created a sensory room.
Providing health education
Although the children were pleased with the changes we made, we realised these were not sustainable long term and the lifetime of the items we had provided was finite. We therefore decided it would be more effective and beneficial to provide the staff with health education.
We used picture presentations to educate staff to help increase their confidence in various areas of care, including management of epilepsy and seizures, first aid for choking, and moving and handling techniques for bed-bound patients.
We also physically demonstrated these interventions to help overcome the communication barriers created by the language differences.
By educating the staff in this way, we epitomised the principles set out in the Nursing and Midwifery Council code; we prioritised the needs of the children in the institution, honed our own skills and help develop the skills of the Romanian nurses.
This experience developed our professionalism as nursing students on the path to becoming registered nurses. By adopting a non-judgmental approach, the staff were able to trust us and the knowledge we shared with them, and we were able to learn from them.
This was an eye-opening and humbling experience. I learned that taking the time to share your knowledge with colleagues benefits everyone, particularly those in our care. I also realised the potential influence I have as a nursing student.
Although money and resources have to be considered in health care provision, this experience made me realise that taking the time to teach staff, and adapt education to their needs, can provide long term and fundamental differences in the delivery of care.
I now take every opportunity to share my knowledge and experiences with others, and ask them to do the same so we can all learn from each other.
Tara Lally is a third-year nursing student at Queen’s University, Belfast