Posted Wednesday 2 December 2009
A group of community nurses from Hong Kong has spent four weeks with the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences learning more about the latest developments in UK health care.
The eight nurses have been so inspired by some of the pioneering techniques and practices they saw during their stay with the Faculty, which is run by Kingston University and St George's, University of London, that they hope to be able to use some of them when they return home.
The nurses had a packed programme that included visits to breast screening and respiratory clinics and GP surgeries, discussions with nurse consultants, health visitors and district nurses and lectures on developments in family planning, the management of chronic diseases, mental health and learning disabilities.
The nurses completed their final day by presenting action plans detailing the kind of changes they would like to see implemented in Hong Kong over the next 12 months.
Susan Strong, Principal Lecturer in the School of Nursing, said: "The nurses have been offered an excellent 'snapshot' opportunity to look at all our recent developments. What they are learning in one month would normally be taught over two years."
Although Hong Kong has been a special administrative region of China since 1997, as a former British colony its system of nursing has some similarities to the NHS model and health issues such as diseases of old age are common to both countries. However Ms Strong said that in Hong Kong nursing remained a traditional, medical-led profession. "The nurses are very excited by what we're doing in the NHS, and they're particularly interested in nurse-led developments," she said.
The minor injuries unit at Queen Mary's University Hospital in Roehampton, which is run by nurses rather than doctors, is one of the initiatives that impressed the Hong Kong group. The visiting nurses also met community matrons - nurses who are involved in the assessment, diagnosis and management of patients with complex illnesses. And they have visited the respiratory clinic run by Epsom and St Helier University Hospital NHS Trust, where specialist nurses care for patients with chronic lung problems.
Gemma Hurley, a Senior Lecturer, said the visit came about after a lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong University contacted the Faculty to ask how local nurses could find out more about the innovative work of NHS community teams. "Then we put together a programme that would allow the nurses to see all the really good work that we provide in the community for our patients, especially in ways of reducing hospital admissions and promoting care in the community for patients with long term diseases," said Ms Hurley.
Siu Yin Chan, an Advanced Practice Nurse who works in the community, said: "I've really enjoyed the programme and I've got lots of innovative ideas from it."
Wai Sum Kwan, another member of the Hong Kong group, said: "It's been a very fruitful trip, and there's lots we'll take back with us to Hong Kong. For me, the best thing was working with nurse leaders. "We don't have them back home, so we can learn a lot from them about how to plan and develop our own practices."