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Taiwanese students get a taste of medicine at USC

August 15, 2012
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Originally published by USC News. Written by Tania Chatila. 

Fourteen nursing students from Taiwan said they are taking back valuable lessons in Western medicine thanks to a two-week immersion program at the Keck Medical Center of USC.

The students — juniors in the bachelor of science in nursing program at China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan — spent the later part of July shadowing registered nurses at Keck Hospital of USC. The trip was sponsored by the Taiwanese Bureau of Education as a way to encourage studies abroad.

“We chose USC because we really wanted to observe techniques in a mainstream teaching hospital,” said Susie Chen, a nursing director at Mt. San Antonio College with close ties to Taiwan. She arranged the trip and supervised the students during their stay in the United States. “We felt that USC would be a great place for them to learn.”

During the two weeks of clinical observations at USC, the students shadowed nurses in several patient care units, learning about shift reporting, pain assessments, care plans, clinical documentation and medication administration, among other topics.

“As an academic medical center, we have a commitment to teaching,” said Gina Greco, the hospitals’ director of Evidenced Based Practice, who helped coordinate the students’ visit to nursing floors. “We were more than happy to host these students. It was a great opportunity for our nurses and staff to educate others about our best practices and standards, as well as learn about nursing techniques internationally.”

Yu-Erh Huang said she would be taking back many lessons to Taiwan, where nurse-to-patient ratios are much higher than California standards.

“In Taiwan, a nurse needs to care for eight or more patients, so sometimes the care is fragmented,” she said, speaking through a translator. “Here, with less patients, you can get a full understanding of a patient’s history.”

Student Yu-Hsiang Huang called the experience inspiring: “You can really feel the passion [for patient care] here.”

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