Chinese Nursing Contingent Enjoying GCU, Arizona

February 08, 2012 / by / 0 Comment

By Jennifer Willis
Communications Staff

After a 16-member contingent from GCU spent an 18-day nursing exchange in China last July, the College of Nursing returned the favor by welcoming a 22-member student and faculty contingent from Changchun, China, for a two-week stay.

“We have been blessed this week with our colleagues from China,” said Dean Anne McNamara in an introduction at Monday afternoon’s faculty lecture.

Changchun, China Nursing Delegation at GCU.

The contingent spent last week in Phoenix getting acclimated to the time change and life at GCU: living in the residence halls, taking a campus tour, attending Chapel and the Gathering, and even dressing in togas to attend last Thursday night’s “Mr. GCU” student event in the North Gym.

“They are having a lot of fun with our casual approach to education,” said Assistant Professor Anne Wendt, who went on the China trip. “It is so much more formal and structured in China. For example, when we were in China and entered a lecture, all of the students immediately stood up.”

The contingent also has spent time attending CON lectures and learning about aspects of U.S. health care, such as in-home hospice care and jail nursing.

“Hospice care is a relatively new concept for China in general,” Wendt said. “Hospice care for them is part of the hospital, and it’s only available in some of the bigger cities where the hospitals are. We took them to visit a hospice home here in Phoenix that is located in a neighborhood with peaceful bedrooms for patients. It was very fascinating to them.”

On Monday, the visiting Chinese faculty had the opportunity to present insights into health care in China, which combines Western medicine with traditional Chinese practices.

Each faculty member took 15 minutes on a different aspect, covering the history of the Changchun Medical College, the education of Chinese nurses and the use of acupuncture, point massage therapy and different herbal remedies.

“There are five basic theories of traditional Chinese medicine,” said the dean of the Changchun nursing department, Yuan Zhaoxin (also known as “Jacky”). “One of the most well-known is the Yin Yang Theory, the theory that there are two opposing principles in nature.”

Jacky explained that the yang side faces the sun and the yin side is darkness. Although they are opposing sides, they are united. The theory is used  to explain functions of the body. The yin is the lower part and the interior of the body. The yang is the upper part and exterior part of the body.

“Traditional Chinese medicine treats patients and pain as a whole,” Jacky said. “Inspection of the whole body is a convenient and important method for diagnosing disease. It enables a doctor to get all necessary data.”

This includes looking at the tongue, which the Chinese believe can reveal many insights into physical condition.

“Different areas of the tongue are connected to different areas of the body,” he said. “The color of the tongue and lack of ‘tongue fur’ can be signs of problems in the body.”

One of the things that Wendt found interesting about the Changchun Medical College is that the education of nurses is overseen by physicians. 

“As more nurses gain a higher education, there will be more nurses teaching nurses there as well,” she said.

Knowing English also is mandatory for their nursing students, and training in etiquette and demeanor is required.

“We pay a lot of attention to learning the English language today because of how important English has become,” said Sun Libo, a professor. “Especially in health care, where we deal with a lot of foreign patients.”

Studies aside, the College of Nursing is making sure that the visitors have fun and get to experience everything GCU, Phoenix and Arizona have to offer. Apart from touring hospitals and patient-care facilities, activities have been added to the schedule, such as a Phoenix Suns game, a ghost-town tour and First Friday.

This week, there are visits to the State Capitol and the Heard Museum. The group is scheduled to leave on Friday.

“They seem to be really enjoying themselves,” Wendt said. “We keep hearing them say how incredibly warm and welcoming everyone at GCU is. It’s been a great experience.”

Contact Jennifer Willis at 639.7383 or [email protected].

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