Happy International Nurses Day!!

Today was an incredibly hectic day that was filled with excitement and aching feet. As I write this blog entry, I’m sitting with my feet propped so that I can give them a break.

We began our day with another lecture at BCU which was given on public health by James and Aldo. Once this session began I quickly realized how little I know about what public health actually entails. The presenters said it included arts and science, preventing disease and promoting positive health, interventions, and society. These four seemingly unrelated subjects come together to prevent illness on a larger scale.

This session allowed me to learn a great deal about public health problems in the United Kingdom. The consensus from the tour group so far has seemed to be that the UK is infinitely better with no problems whatsoever, but I think we all know it is naive to see things as that black and white. According to the presenters, language and cultural barriers are a big road block for public health. Migrant populations may struggle to navigate healthcare whether it is free or not because of these barriers, and may get overwhelmed and neglect their needs to avoid embarrassment or mistreatment. Even minorities who speak English fluently may steer away from public health resources because of a systemic distrust of the medical system. This rings true in America as well. People of color often have a lack of trust in the healthcare system because of centuries of inhumane treatment and disregard for their lives from medical professionals. These instances of racism in healthcare still happen today too. Having pulse oximeters cited by the FDA as “less accurate in people with dark skin pigmentation,” is unexceptable and embarrassing for the medical field.

My main takeaway from this presentation was that the UK and US share a great deal of health problems. Learning about some public health issues, the main one we focused on being smoking, gave me a more whole picture of England as a country and helped me wrap my head around some of the things I have been seeing everyday.

After the lecture we took a spontaneous trip to the annual health conference taking place in the botanical gardens a five minute walk from campus. After a bit of room jumping, I got to listen to a session being given by Dr. Jonathan Gadsby on mental health nursing and conscientious objection to forced pharmaceutical intervention. What I took away from his presentation had little to do with the content, though I will be reading the article he wrote on it later. I ended up learning a great deal about presenting and speaking effectively. From the way Dr. Gadsby spoke you could tell he was passionate about speaking on his topic and spreading the knowledge he has to others in the field. He used examples that were realistic and applicable while explaining his points, and invited us all to think about the moral obligations each person has and each nurse has.

One of my absolute favorite parts of the trip so far had to be meeting the adult nursing students. When we came in they were all so welcoming right off the bat. They all answered any questions we had and seemed equally interested in learning about our lives. Getting to chat about school and hear the realities of university and life in the UK felt so casual but so informative. Getting to see the pure shock on their faces when we told them about our school costs was fun too. We spent our hour just talking and playing Jenga, but it was enough for us to instantly connect and bond over the fact that (almost) all of us are future nurses. My main take away from that experience was realizing how funny and kind people from England can be. Now that I’m beginning to interact with people who aren’t obligated to be nice to us, everyone has mostly been friendly and patient with our general cluelessness.

The final thing we did today was the simulation lab! Today was my first time inside a simulation lab ever and it made me excited to use the skills lab at Pitt in the fall. Getting to see all of the equipment (but not quite understanding it all) was awesome and made my future in healthcare feel “real”. Not to brag, but I not only got the fastest time in the anatomy labeling challenge but also had the best results at the handwashing station. I guess you could say I won for the day.

My main takeaway for this session came from the breaking bad news simulation. I learned how complicated those situation can get not just because you are sharing upsetting news, but we also had to factor in the stability of family members, family dynamics outside of the patient, and HIPPA rules. I have my work cut out for me over the next few years.

I am excited for the canal tour, the sessions tomorrow, and to start the weekend. Cheers!

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