Cambodia Study Abroad Trip

With excitement mixed with trepidation, a group of seven students from Belmont University School of Nursing spent three weeks this past May in Phnom Penh, Cambodia working at the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE for the poor while earning course credit. Students divided their clinical time between the medical and surgical wards, the operating room, the emergency room, the outpatient clinic, home visits to AIDS patients and a hospice for AIDS patients. Students were interested to see how health care had developed following the devastation caused by the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970’s. They met one nurse, Mom Sam Oeun, who had been working during this regime and had been sent into the provinces to live with her family in one room with very little food. Fearing for her life, she hid her status as a nurse until Pol Pot’s reign ended and then returned to nursing. Many examples of courage and struggle were seen among the Khmer people.

Patient Lottery Outside the HospitalBecause so many seek free, quality health care at Sihanouk Hospital, the Cambodian people determined that the only fair way to decide who would be treated each day was to hold a lottery. Almost every day and according to the hospital census, ten new patients are chosen by lottery. These can come to the hospital at any time for care along with the others already in the hospital. Others, of whom many have come from far away provinces, will return day after day, hoping to be chosen to receive some of the best care that is available in the nation. One of the goals of the hospital is to share knowledge and information with governmental and other hospitals so that the standard of health care can be improved throughout the country.

Another international course to Cambodia is planned for May 2008. Please contact the Belmont University School of Nursing if you would like more information on this exciting opportunity.

Our StudentsSharon Dowdy and Susan Taplan in front of one of the temples in Angkor Wat


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