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Pennock nurse readies for her trip to Vietnam

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — Pennock Elementary School Nurse Elizabeth Clark will get to experience and teach public health nursing on a global level when she travels to Vietnam next month.
    From May 6 to May 10, Clark will travel to Ho Chi Minh City with the Friendship Bridge to work with Vietnamese students at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy. The Friendship Bridge is a group of University of Northern Colorado nursing faculty dedicated to improving nursing education and practice in Vietnam. Since Clark teaches at the university part-time in the summer, she is able to go on the trip.

    Clark said it will be a new experience for her to leave the country and look at a new culture.
    “I’m excited about it. I think it will really invigorate my nursing,” she said.
    Clark said she is especially excited to get to visit the schools. She said part of the program focuses on public schools and she will be able to see what health issues the students need help and how they can better support them.
    The program at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy is the first graduate nursing program in Vietnam and the curriculum created for this program will be a model for graduate nursing education for Vietnam. Clark said because Vietnam is a developing country, their nursing practices are a little bit different.
    “Most of the nurses there work in hospitals and they don’t have the community health, public health part of nursing – that’s all new to them,” she said.
    She is working to prepare her coursework and activities for the students and is also planning to take gifts with her, which she said is part of the culture there.
    Clark said the idea of global nursing has come up a lot and that Brighton has changed a lot over the years with a lot of different languages spoken and cultures in the city. She said school nursing focuses on relationships and supporting the health of all of the students and their families.
    “I hope from this experience of me going to another country that I’ll be able to bring back some insight of how to work with new people coming here, new cultures and communities and how to better support them,” she said.

Contact Staff Writer Crystal Nelson at cnelson@metrowestnewspapers.com.