Swansea nurses get to see US healthcare up close on Texas visit

A group of 2nd year Nursing students from Swansea University have just returned from Houston, Texas after a study visit to allow them to compare and contrast healthcare in the US and UK.

The visit was hosted by the College of Nursing at the University of Houston (UH), one of the top universities in the US.  Swansea University has a strategic partnership with UH, as part of its flourishing Texas links, which are bringing benefits to students and researchers.   

600 x 453Picture: the group with the Texas flag ahead of their visit: (l-r Sybil Edwards, Angela Jolly, Grace Jones, Sara Watkin)

During their three-week visit, the students, all from Wales, took part in a range of activities, including:

  • University of Houston lectures and simulation classes
  • Visits to hospitals, observing in Emergency Rooms and Operating Theatres
  • Cultural and community activities
  • A tour of the Texas Medical Center and the University of Texas Medical Branch, a historic hospital and nursing school. UTMB School of Nursing was the first school of nursing west of the Mississippi River in the U.S.

The Swansea nurses stayed in student residences at the University of Houston, allowing them to experience student life Texas-style.

This is the first time Swansea University has sent a group of nursing students to Texas, and it follows a visit by Houston nurses to Swansea in September.  The Swansea nurses were accompanied for part of their visit by Cath Williams, Programme Director for Undergraduate Nursing at Swansea.

Study nursing at Swansea University

600 x 376Picture: getting ready to see US healthcare up close; UH and Swansea students prepare for the emergency room

Wales to Texas – what the students said:

Angela Jolly from Haverfordwest:

“I did very much enjoy my visit to the Emergency Room, and I met with a variety of people, from all walks of life. The staff were very supportive and the technology used in the health care environment was outstanding.   From a cultural perspective, my time in Houston is one I shall never forget, from experiencing life in a student dorm, studying classes alongside students and eating out like the locals.”

Sara Watkin from Carmarthenshire:

“I went on 2 operating placement and 2 emergency placements which was very good as I got to see how health care is different compared to the UK’s.

Overall it was such an amazing experience.  I thoroughly enjoyed everything that I did. I really enjoyed the dancing, painting and going to NASA.  Throughout my time at Texas Houston I made very good memories that I will cherish and have made some really good friends that I will stay in contact with.”

Sybil Edwards from Carmarthenshire:

“Gaining an insight into clinical practice in the United States and the differing role of a nurse within that society will, I believe, have a positive impact upon my own clinical skills.”

Grace Jones from Carmarthenshire:

“I applied to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity because it would be amazing to travel to the University of Houston and to learn about the people and the culture of Texas, but more importantly, to learn about nurse training in the US and the differences between how they train and how we train.”

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Picture:  the Swansea nursing students with members of the University of Houston team, who kindly hosted the visit

Dr Jayne Cutter, head of Swansea University department of nursing, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our students which allowed them to experience and compare contrasting approaches to healthcare in the US and UK.

Our partnership with the University of Houston continues to go from strength to strength and we were delighted to host a group of their Nursing students in Swansea last year. Coming from a country with a largely privatised healthcare system, those students found their experience in the UK and exposure to the NHS to be both fascinating and thought-provoking, and I expect our students will have found the experience similarly enlightening.”

Dr Caroline Coleman-Davies, who manages Swansea University's Texas partnership, added:

"I'm delighted that we have been able to send our first group of nursing students to Texas, thanks to our partners at University of Houston.

We know that spending time overseas is hugely beneficial for students both in terms of both their personal and professional development, and this year almost 100 students have been able to benefit from our Swansea-Texas exchange programme."

Find out more about our Texas partnership

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Picture: the Swansea group enjoying some down time in Texas