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Taiwan 2012



Taiwan is a beautiful country with wonderful, kind and giving people. The people speak Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese, and a majority of citizens are Buddhist or Taoist. Students stayed in the city of Tainan and had clinical experiences in the 1200 bed Chi Mei Medical Center, shadowing nurses in the intensive care units and the community. Students learned and experienced how religion, culture and Western and Eastern medicine all play important roles in how nursing care is given to each patient. Students also worked in the oncology and hospice inpatient units and then the community. Additionally, they learned how their food, night markets, socialization, religious temples and history make the Taiwanese people who they are.


Student Reflections:

"I learned in Taiwan that through respecting religious beliefs and taking time to know the patient, both the patient and the healthcare worker can learn from each other and gain a greater respect and understanding for the differing cultures. Throughout my experience in Taiwan I saw many cultural beliefs and practices that are different from my own, both in and out of a medical setting. These cultural differences are neither superior nor inferior to that of my own culture, just different. I know that this simple realization--that cultures are simply different and should knot be ranked as better or worse--will help me with my future practice as a nurse. "     --Rachel

"One of the experiences that had the most impact on me happened when one of the patients on our unit passed away. According to the Buddhist belief, the body should not be moved for eight hours after death. Because of this, the hospice unit had a special room prepared where the family could stay with the patient's body. While we were working on the unit, one of the patients passed away, and the nurses invited us in to see what the family did with the body. The nurse was in the room removing all the tubes and wires. After she had removed most of the wires, I noticed that she left the oxygen tubes in the patient's nose. I momentarily wondered why she didn't take it out but didn't think about it very much. Later, the head nurse talked to us about the death and explained the reason that the nurse had left the oxygen in. In Buddhism it is very important for the person to die at home. This allows the soul of the person to begin the journey to the afterlife in the right place-- ensuring that he or she will be able to find the way. This patient, however, died in the hospital. They left the oxygen on because they believed that if oxygen was still going into the patient, the "breath of life" had not left yet. If they took the patient home and then removed the oxygen, this meant that the patient had not actually died in the hospital. I thought this was a very interesting cultural practice and was grateful to see that the nurses were very aware of the practice and made an effort to fulfill the family's wishes."     --Sara

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