Scholarship Success enables Adult Nursing student’s India trip

A second year Adult Nursing student at Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences has been successful in winning a coveted scholarship to attend an India Summer Programme.

Christopher KemberChristopher Kember, who is studying at the University’s St David’s Park Campus in Carmarthen, has been chosen as one of only three recipients of the Florence and Don McGregor Scholarship that will enable him to participate in the Bangalore based programme.

The programme, which is run by St Joseph’s College of Commerce in Bangalore and facilitated by Swansea University’s International Development Office, comprises three weeks of learning, experiencing and enjoying every aspect of Indian culture and tradition.

Christopher said: “At the time of applying for this opportunity I was undertaking the ERASMUS study abroad scheme in Finland where I worked for 3 months as a nursing student in a critical care unit. Swansea University International Office received my initial application then arranged an over-the-phone interview. I was subsequently shortlisted and offered one of the limited places.”

“However, after fully considering the financial costs of undertaking the programme I came to the difficult decision that I could not afford to take part and informed the International office who informed me of the Florence and Don McGregor trust Scholarship.”

“I was doubtful I would be successful as there were only 3 scholarships to be won, however I set about writing an essay and drawing up a CV in support of my application.  It was an anxious wait but I was overwhelmed by the amazing news that I had been chosen as one of the Florence and Don McGregor scholarship recipients for the India summer programme.  The generous scholarship has funded £1,500 towards the cost of the India programme, including flights and accommodation.”

Activities and excursions during the programme include sessions in yoga and art therapy, lectures on Indian history, culture and women in society.
A trip to the Narayana Institute of Neurosciences is planned, which consists of talks and a tour of the different hospital departments.
Visits to Mysore Palace, the Iskon Temple, the Solur Women's Convent and the Fireflies Ashram will also take place.

Christopher said: “As a nursing student, the cultural experience programme initially interested me as I saw it as an invaluable opportunity to develop my knowledge and understanding of Indian Culture, as knowing significant religious and cultural details is vital to nursing practice and should be central to adequate care planning to ensure patients’ retain self-respect, integrity and dignity.  Despite some culture shocks, I expect this experience will be profound and long-lasting.”

This isn’t the first time that Christopher has travelled to extend his nursing experiences.  Last summer, after completing his first year of study, Chris travelled to Nepal, taking up a position as a volunteer nurse at a hospital in Kathmandu, and helping out at a local orphanage.

Chris said the hospital appealed to him because of the striking difference between nursing in the UK, where healthcare is free to all, and in Nepal where only 15% of the population is provided for by its national health service.

On his return from Nepal he said: “The whole experience was invaluable and I would love to return in the future to get involved with similar projects. I’d highly recommend a placement abroad to other nursing students. It’s a fantastic experience, which has the potential to truly open your eyes and change your perception of life and of nursing practice. I now have a greater appreciation of how fortunate we are to have the NHS."