Nursing students tour Philippines

 Nursing students in the Philippines
VU Nursing students in the Philippines

Victoria University nursing students saw the challenges of working in the health system of a developing country during their recent two-week study tour to the Philippines.

From seeing local staff manage with equipment considered out-of-date in Australia, to monitoring political unrest and earthquakes in other parts of the country, VU participants appreciated the life-changing nature of the tour.

College of Health and Biomedicine's Director Learning and Teaching Karen Lawrence was one of two staff who accompanied the group of 10 third-year Bachelor of Nursing students.

She said the group found it confronting to see how health care conditions in some of the country’s remote areas compared to Australia.

“We travelled and hiked two hours up a mountain in Barangay province to visit sick people who were too unwell to attend a basic community clinic,” she said.

“Our students were humbled and genuinely appreciative of this cultural experience.”

Student Shane Bautista filmed the group during the tour to make a documentary about their trip when he returned to Australia.

“I wanted to record the reactions of VU students visiting places outside their comfort zones such as street clinics. Most had never had exposure to anything like that before,” he said.

Karen said the experience would help VU students build skills in cultural awareness, sensitivity, and work-readiness, particularly for roles among the culturally diverse residents of Melbourne’s west. 

VU students also had the chance to join nursing students from partner school Saint Louis University in Baguio City in the north of the Philippines for classes and activities.

Their classes, which began at 7.30am and finished at 6pm, included opportunities to be in operating theatres, assess patients, and learn about maternity care and the management of childhood diseases uncommon in Australia.

The group also had free time for tourist and cultural activities.

The study tour was the second part of a student mobility project with Saint Louis University funded by Australian Government’s New Colombo plan.

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