Nursing Education and Health Care in China: A Study Tour

By Fonza, Marjorie A.; Tucker-Allen, Sallie | ABNF Journal, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview

Nursing Education and Health Care in China: A Study Tour


Fonza, Marjorie A., Tucker-Allen, Sallie, ABNF Journal


Abstract: The authors visited six health care facilities in three cities (Beijing, Xi'an and Kunming) in China while on a ten-day People to People Ambassador and American Academy of Nursing sponsored tour. Hospitals visited were Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH), ranked the #1 hospital in China with over 1,800 beds and 1,350 nurses; 6th Affiliated Hospital at Beijing University, the Institute of Mental Health, known as the National Center for Mental Health; Community Healthcare Service Station of Fuxing Hospital; Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital of Pan Long District; the Kunming Medical College Nursing School, and the Faculty of Nursing at Xi'an Jiaotong University. In 1952, the new government closed higher education programs and secondary technical level programs became dominant. BSN programs were reestablished in 1983 when PUMC re-established the nursing program. There are 1,307,800 RNs in China to care for 1.3 billion persons. BSN graduates do not have to take the licensure examination; they are awarded licensure after graduating from college and working for one year.

Key Words: Nursing Education in China, Nursing in China; Health Care in China.

Covering 3.7 million square miles, The People's Republic of China (China) is the third largest country in the world behind Russia and Canada, with only 10 percent of this land suitable for farming (Destination Guide: China, 2005). With a population of 1.3 billion, 50 percent work in agriculture, 23 percent are in industry and 27 percent work in the service sector. A delegation of nursing leaders, sponsored by the People-to-People Ambassador Program and the American Academy of Nursing, visited China on a health care study tour from November 29 - December 9, 2005. Dr. Sallie Tucker-Allen and I were part of that delegation, visiting health care facilities, community health agencies, clinics, and schools of nursing to get a first-hand view of modern health care in an ancient country.

It is interesting to note that whenever a tour guide was added to our itinerary, they always started off reviewing the history of China. We were impressed by the knowledge expressed regarding their history and the pride with which they told their story. There is an old saying in China: there are no visitors to China, for they all become Chinese.

PREPARATION FOR LEAVING THE U.S.

Travelers should contact www.travel.state.gov or www.usembassy-china.org.cn for information on immunizations needed for entry into China. For our trip, HIV testing was required for anyone staying longer than six months, Hepatitis A and B were recommended and typhoid, diphtheria and tetanus boosters were recommended. In addition, U.S. passports had to be valid for at least six months after we returned home. One delegate had a passport that had expired two days before her arrival in China. She had to return to Hong Kong to update her passport, at her expense. A current visa is also required.

All of the delegates met in the Los Angeles Airport to make the long flight to Hong Kong - then on to the mainland of China, which was a 13 hour flight. Necessary items include: earplugs, an eye mask, granola bars and snacks, an electrical converter and gifts for our hosts - recognizing that a clock indicated death.

ARRIVAL IN CHINA: IN-COUNTRY BRIEFING WITH TOUR GUIDES

All of us were warned not to drink the water; our hosts provided bottled water throughout our trip. We even took bottles to use in brushing our teeth in the hotel. Meals were served round table style with a lazy susan in the middle. Lunch and dinner were Chinese cuisine with a cold dish followed by a warm meal and soup to aid digestion. There was no dessert or coffee except for fruit juice. Mineral water and beer were plentiful, but there were no diet drinks.

In terms of currency, the yuan equals 0.12 cents (U.S.). We initially stayed at The Presidential Plaza hotel in Beijing which had 485 rooms and 63 suites equipped with high-speed internet access and a business center. …

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