Western Australia Minister for Health Kim Hames
Experience Of A Lifetime For 20 Student Nurses In Tanzania
Victor P Taffa
Twenty Student Nurses from five Western Australian Universities have returned from a two-week Clinical Placement in Tanzanian Hospitals and Community Health Centres.
The Funding for the Clinical Placements was granted by Health Minister Kim Hames and is part of a broader $100,000 commitment enabling nurses to work with developing countries to enhance their skills through Global Health Alliance Western Australia (GHAWA).
“These Student Nurses have undertaken a unique opportunity, completing their clinical placement in an environment where they have learnt a great deal and shared their skills and knowledge with a Developing Country.” Dr. Hames said.
“This experience will provide a greater cultural awareness for each student to help prepare them to be a part of improving future Health Care delivery in Rural and Remote WA.”
“Undertaking such a diverse clinical nursing placement will help develop these students into great nurses and I congratulate each participant and wish them well for their career.”
“This initiative is only one aspect of a partnership developed between WA and Tanzanian universities and hospitals to foster cross-cultural teaching and learning.” Dr. Hames said.
WA Health’s Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer, A/Professor Cath Stoddard and GHAWA director, Professor Mark Jones, also led workshops with the Tanzania’s Chief Nurse for a group of the Medical Community in Dar Es Salam.
The Purpose of the Workshops was to Plan Strategic Initiatives in Education, Clinical Training, Research and Leadership Development to support and improve Nursing in Tanzania.
Professor Jones said his team worked closely with university supervisors to prepare the students for their Clinical Experience in Tanzania.
“The First Day in Dar Es Salam was quite overwhelming for many of the students.” Professor Jones said.
“I have been to Tanzania before but revisiting the health care facilities this time was a reminder of how lucky we are in WA.”
Professor Jones said Participating Students should be commended for the work they have undertaken during their Clinical Placement.
“We have taken them out of their known environment, split them into mixed groups from across all of the participating universities and put them into an extremely different health care environment.” Professor Jones said.
“This experience has tested everything these student nurses have learnt over their entire university careers. They have now dealt with ethical dilemmas, adult and infant deaths and a multitude of things they would never have experienced during a Clinical Placement in WA.”
“Through all of this they have represented their universities, Global Health Alliance, and themselves with a great deal of professionalism.” Professor Jones said.
Participating Student Nurse, Thomas Coffey said it was an experience he would value for the rest of his life.
“This has been two weeks I will never forget. I was able to see firsthand how we were making a difference. From here I think I will do some more volunteer work or work in a Remote Community.” Mr. Coffey said.
Global Health Alliance Western Australia was established in December 2009 to facilitate WA nursing and midwifery education and training as well as Health System capacity building in partnership with Developing Countries.