Wow, what a brimming day! Today in Birmingham our group had a series of activities hosted by Birmingham City University (BCU). The first activity was a series of lectures on Public Health, Public Health Organizations, and Tobacco. After that, our group headed off to the Botanical Gardens to hear several speakers give ten-minute presentations on their research topics. The third activity was a celebration with BCU nursing students to honor International Nurses Day. Finally, our final activity was a visit to a fully functioning simulation lab where BCU professors assisted us in performing a series of hospital procedures. While the day was hectic, I gained a lot of knowledge to take back home making this incredibly busy day well worth it.
During the morning lecture at BCU, the focus was on the concept of public health. During this class, I learned about public health from a UK perspective, how it can be effective. We also a number of actions and organizations in place to promote a healthier society. According to the WHO/Europe, the term public health is: “The science and art of preventing diseases, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organized efforts of society.” Another lecturer shared WHO/Europe’s definition of health: “The state of physical, mental, and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” These definitions are right on target and what is needed to support and advance a healthy population globally.
After reviewing these terms, we were asked to explain why there is such an abundance of public health concerns. The immediate answer that came to mind was economics since poverty is one of the leading causes for poor living conditions, lack of education, and hunger. To address this issue, I then proposed the idea of implementing shelters and soup kitchens in the low-income areas. However, after presenting my answer, I was reminded that such measures have been taken and the problem is only getting worse. Which led me to the points mentioned in the lecture earlier, efforts like taking action, interventions and societal accountability are what’s needed to meet public health needs. For example, tobacco use leads to life-threatening conditions. While individuals who participate in this activity are aware of these dangers, they still make the personal decision to go against sound health advice. Such actions affect society, as younger generations must deal with the impact years later. As a future nurse, it is my responsibility to be a role model through my actions and to support patients struggling with nicotine addiction.
During the second activity, the health conference at the Botanical Gardens five minutes from campus, several BCU faculty and students gave ten-minute presentations of their research topics. While the presentations were all packed with information, I was most impressed by the speaker who brought the audience’s attention to mental health issues and concerns of nurses working in jail settings. While symptoms of depression and anxiety are high amongst these nurses, there is not much information or why these mental health issues develop. The most impactful portion of this presentation was near its end as there was a real image of a nursing student being attacked by an inmate. It’s easy to understand how an incident like that impacts one’s level of anxiety or even cause doubt in being suited for such a demanding profession. Personally, this was a reminder of the good, bad, and ugly situations that may come out of working across all sections of society.
The third activity was the celebration of International Nurses Day where we got to meet BCU nursing students specializing in adult nursing care. In our conversations hear their firsthand experiences and gained information on what healthcare truly is in the United Kingdom. In addition, we learned more about how different the curriculum for nursing and education in general is in the U.K. compared to the U.S. We even got to engage the BCU nursing students in a game of Janga. While playing this “competitive” game, we helped each other out and worked together to reinforce the idea that nursing is a “team sport.”
The final event was in BCU’s SPACE lab. This lab provides the university’s nursing and medical students the opportunity to apply the knowledge learned in the classroom to clinical settings. Before entering, we all put on the mandatory PPE. These items included gloves, goggles, an apron, and a N95 mask. At this point, I sure did feel as though I was entering a hospital. Three stations were set up for us to practice various clinical skills. The skills applied today were CPR training, practicing aseptic technique through washing ones hands the correct way, labeling various organs within the human anatomy, and a collective video on dealing with patient and nurse interactions with each other. I got the most out of the video where patients and their families were speaking with nurses after life-altering procedures. The importance of never providing a false sense of hope is imperative when dealing with such situations. While it is the responsibility of a nurse to make sure the patients are comfortable, one is reminded that families are affected by traumatic situations. I must remember to include the patient’s family into patient center care plans, as they suffer nearly as much as the patient.
A the end of this long day, I decided to treat myself to a luxurious dinner of lamb chop masala at the Dilbar Authentic Indian Cuisine restaurant. I can say with confidence that is was the BEST MEAL I’ve had on the island yet!
Until next time, Cheers!