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Six of us arrived at the hospital last Friday for our medical placement. 4 were medical students, 2 (including myself) were nursing students. I was the only one who had hands on experience with patients: I can mix drugs, give drugs, dress wounds, put in/take out catheters, etc. I was told the more experience you have, the more you can do at the hospital but I found this was not the case. I know a certified nurse who has been at the program for months and she has barely had a chance to do anything at all. I’m not even certified yet plus there is too much working against me: communication, cultural and sexist barriers.

We spent our day following a nurse who administered antibiotics through an IV. She did not speak English. I’m not going to lie, it was really boring. I know some of the students found it interesting but I think that’s because they came with the intention of purely observing. I came with the intention of DOING. of HELPING. I have a feeling that’s not what’s in store for me.

The picture below is a friend here in Vietnam! She speaks Vietnamese so could translate for us. This was a positive on one hand. On the other, it was a negative because it meant the staff only talked to her while the rest of us were “left out.” The room she is sitting in is where the doctors and nurses gather to document (by hand). It also doubly serves as the doctor’s office where patients are brought for examination before determining next steps (surgery, PT, etc.)

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