August 3, 2012
By Grace Huang
Whenever people find out that I am pre-nursing and in fact probably not going to med school (at least to become a doctor) I always get the question, why? Don’t you make less money? If all you need is just a couple of extra years why wouldn’t you? Isn’t it worth the high respects defined by society? If you have the opportunity, why not pursue it? Well, nursing has its advantages too. Nursing as a profession has been a traditionally well respected position for females since the wars of the early days. And through this class, I have reaffirmed my belief that nursing is what I aspire to do with my life.
When I first heard Dr. Terrence J. Ryan mention nursing, it caught my attention. While talking about Sir William Osler, one of the founding professors of John Hopkins Hospital, he mentioned another renowned person, Florence Nightingale. Known as the “Lady with the Lamp” for making rounds late at night, she was famous for creating the first secular professional nursing school at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London (and whose name was used in the Nightingale Pledge of ethics for nurses). And the moment Dr. Ryan held up an obviously tattered copy of her book, titled “Notes on Nursing”, my heart felt a slight jerk. Here lay the foundation work of what my career was based on. It was she who pioneered the modern nursing practice currently found worldwide.
I later learned how she was the one who developed patient care. How through her experimentation it was she who determined and wrote about the importance of an angled position of a bed in the way that deemed necessary for absolute patient comfort. I believe it is the little actions just like this that create the reassurance the patient needs that they are receiving the best care possible. This idea of reassurance was even mentioned in our discussions about how the role of a doctor is for reassurance purposes. Although I do agree that general practitioners and specialists should take the time to listen to patients, I believe that real job falls into the hands of the nurses, especially when it comes to hospice care.
This especially applies to those health care centers in low income/developing countries. Take the country Mali, Africa, for example. Dr. Merlin explained how the hospital he worked at only had one doctor on call 24 hours, 7 days a week, for 365 days. So who did the rest of the work fall upon for the other 199 patients held up there? The nurses. Though lacking the training and proper knowledge compared to that of the doctor, the hospital would not be running if not for the work of the nurses. Likewise, the well trained doctors in these countries take their educational knowledge and work in big hospitals while the nurses are the ones who will travel to the rural areas and help the poor (according to the professor’s personal experience in Africa). Furthermore, this course’s focus on the disparity (social, economic, political) between developing and developed countries only adds to my belief that nurses are needed for patient care purposes. Because no matter the conditions laid out around the world, each different type of health care system relies on nurses.
And that sole factor is what inspires me to become a nurse– the fact that nurses consider patient care to be of the upmost importance to a person’s healthy wellbeing. To me, the difference between nurses and doctors comes down to personality. A doctor wants the surgeries, the credit, and medicine to be their life. I on the other hand, aspire to create a welcoming atmosphere for patients in which I would bring my own children to in the case that they too are severely ill. Nurses are the glue to any hospital and deserve so much more credit than they are given. Yet, strangely enough, I like it that way. So for all you skeptics out there, watch out, Nurse Huang is soon to be the key to the best hospital patient care you will ever experience.
Grace is a sophomore studying Health and Humanities from Cupertino, California.
By Derek Kono
Coming to England, I had a very uninformed idea of “global health.” Beforehand, my aspirations of becoming a doctor was simply to help people through scientific and medical means to make their life more comfortable. I wanted to go to foreign, developing countries and volunteer there in the future, thinking I would be doing helpful, realistic work. Though good intentioned, my thoughts were uninformed and naive.
My research project while in England was focused around studying and developing a healthcare system for Ghana. During my research, I realized just how little medical aspects left in healthcare there are. So many components go into the complex that medicine is just a small portion, not the entire thing, as I once assumed. Fixing the medical illnesses in developing countries is only a temporary solution to the vast problem. For example, when looking into the healthcare in Ghana, diarrheal diseases and HIV are the top two causes of death, respectively. Diarrheal diseases are potentially fatal but can be easily fixed through zinc tablets, vitamin A, or oral rehydration therapy. However, treatment for the disease is only a temporary solution as the patient may contract diarrheal disease again. In order to solve the problem, it is necessary to remove the root of it. Diarrheal diseases are caused by contaminated water supply. Therefore, the people of Ghana, and all developing countries, need a clean, accessible water source. However, building and developing a water system is very expensive and many countries lack the funding. Also, it has to have government backing to sustain it and execute a serious health plan. Quickly, I realized that healthcare had huge aspects of politics and economics.
Most people who suffer from infectious, tropical diseases are in poorer regions of the world. Again, it takes more than medical means to truly help them. Small adjustments to the way NGO’s provide help can even benefit the country. Throughout discussions at Oxford, a proverb came to my head, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach him how to fish and he will eat for days.” In the same way, giving food to developing countries is fantastic, but it would be even better to make it renewable and teach them how to farm more effectively. Economically, it would greatly benefit the people to buy supplies in the country, compared to bringing in supplies, in order to stimulate the economy and allow the people to benefit from their small jobs. Because health issues such as malnutrition is so closely related to economic status, individual families and the country as a whole need to boost their economy in order to solve similar problems. The overall healthcare of the country is so intertwined with other aspects, that now; it takes more than a couple pills to fully treat a population. What, on the surface, seemed like a straightforward problem and solution, actually has many complexities and cannot be solved easily.
Derek is a sophomore majoring in Neuroscience from Huntington Beach, California.
By David Agdashian
With such a great variety of experiences, lessons, and discussions it’s difficult to narrow down what you most want to share in a blog post. Topics range from the wonders of herbal medicine, to the economic and social intricacies of global health. It is safe to say my three weeks in Oxford has illuminated many new perspectives for me on a variety of subjects. Therefore it might be a bit surprising that I am not writing anything about medicine, or global health at all for that matter, simply because I felt that there was an out of the classroom event that also should not be overlooked.
The experience my fellow classmates and I were able to enjoy at the Olympic reception hosted by the USC Alumni Club in London was nothing less than extraordinary. Nearly one hundred students and alumni had come together including Team USA members who had also attended USC. It was mesmerizing simply interacting with Olympic athletes and coaches, both past and present just a few days before their events. From snapping pictures with current athletes Duane Solomon (5th fastest 800m in USA history) and Jesse Williams (ranked #2 jumper in the world) to conversing with the great Laszlo Tabori (third man in history to break four minute mile) who now coaches, this was definitely not something you get to do everyday.
The most significant part of the night for me however was grasping just how strong the Trojan family association truly is. Of course we all hear about it a lot, starting from our first orientation or campus tour, but I know I did not really understand it until I experienced it. It gives you a sense of backing; almost as if though you know, you may find yourself anywhere in the world, and your community is still there. When you consider we were nowhere in Los Angeles, or even near the United States for that matter, yet we were still able to come together with so many fellow Trojans, it felt right at home.
Special Note our Coordinator Judy Haw sent to us:
**Thirty-six current and former Trojans (as of July 10) will compete in the 2012 London Olympic Games
–Eleven are current Trojans (Haley Anderson, Stina Gardell, Lynette Lim and Katarzyna Wilk of women’s swimming, Vladimir Morozov, Dimitri Colupaev and Cristian Quintero of men’s swimming, Flora Bolonyai and Anna Espar of women’s water polo and Josh Mance and Emir Bekric of men’s track)
–22 are women
–18 are first-time Olympians
–They represent 16 countries
–They will join the 396 athletes who USC has previously sent to the Olympic Games(more than any other university)
–They will attempt to add to the record 262 medals won by Trojans, including an unprecedented 123 gold medals (with at least one gold medalist in every summer Olympics since 1912)
David Agdashian is a sophomore majoring in Biology from Glendale, California.