Sometimes you don't need to travel to have an international experience.
This April, eight graduate nursing students from Nam Dinh University in Vietnam visited the West Coast University-Dallas campus to share their experiences and learn more about medical simulation and nursing education in the U.S.
“They will be spending time with faculty and students throughout the week, seeing how we do simulation, classroom teaching and they’ll be doing tours of several of the local hospitals," Vivian Gamblian, WCU-Dallas Simulation Center manager, said. "We’re really excited to have them here.”
Over the past seven years, Gamblian has been working with nursing development and simulation in Vietnamese nursing education. Now, some of the universities and non-governmental organizations Gamblian has been working with in Vietnam made the trip to visit her campus.
“It’s a great opportunity for our students here at West Coast to identify similarities and differences in nursing and nurses from different countries and see how things are done in their country as well," she said. "These students are wonderful ambassadors for their country and they also will learn by how we do things here too."
The group began their visit with a tour of WCU-Dallas led by Admissions Director Britt Ellis, visiting skills labs, simulation labs and sitting in on a class where they handed out Vietnamese candy.
Many in the group teach nursing students in Vietnam and were very interested in all aspects of the medical mannikins, especially the mother-infant ones used to help teach proper labor and delivery techniques.
"It’s a blessing, this tour, not only for the eight people here, but also a blessing for a thousand students in Vietnam because each of these grad students teach in a different educational institution and they will bring all of their knowledge they will learn from West Coast University and apply it and change the way they teach," Glocal Venures Director Vu Manh Tan said, who helped organize the visit.
Later on their first day, the group was introduced to WCU Chief Financial Officer and President of Shared Services for WCU, American Career College and Contemporary Forums, Sandra Pham, who learned a little about each nursing grad student and where they were from. Around lunchtime WCU-Dallas student ambassadors Nguyen Ha and Khanh Nguyen showed up to share stories about living and going to school in Dallas.
"I was born in Vietnam and I thought it was pretty cool to have students from my home country on campus. I came back from Spain last term and I got to experience Spanish life and now I get to see my culture come in Texas so this is awesome," Khanh Nguyen said.
After one more orientation session, the grad students took part in a campus ice cream social where they met and chatted with many WCU-Dallas staff, faculty and students.
"It’s so great to see that their students and our students have so much in common," Pham said. "I would just really hope that this is the beginning of more partnerships between both organizations."
WCU International Education Director Tina Newton joined the delegation on site visits to clinical partners like the Dallas VA, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Newton, who leads the Global Public Health and Oxford Honors program, said WCU's "global footprint has expanded once again."
"Because of this Dallas-based collaboration, the first cohort of masters prepared nurses in Vietnam will have a greater understanding of simulation education and the role of nurses in the U.S.," she said. "I'm also inspired by the Dallas campus community's efforts — from student ambassadors, to faculty host families, to our clinical partners and administration — which show the welcoming spirit of WCU. It's been a wonderful experience for us all."