Student Experiences – Brannin St. Clair

My name is Brannin St. Clair and I am a fourth year nursing student at UNC. I was interested in taking part in this program to experience a health care system that is much different from the one I am being trained to serve in. I flew out from Raleigh, NC and arrived in Guangzhou this past Sunday. I was cordially greeted by Daniel and members of the Lantai team. As we loaded up the van, I was informed that we would be attending a wedding celebration that evening. How exciting! We dropped our bags off, quickly changed, and drove into the more rural area on Panyu district. We were served and INCREDIBLE amount of delicious, traditional food from this region. It was such a spontaneous surprise and an amazing way to start my trip.

We have taken part in several cultural classes – my favorite being the art of tea. The instructor was knowledgeable and walked us through the history of tea in China. (She also took part in our calligraphy course and I’m convinced she is an all around incredible human being.) The cultural courses have been a calming conclusion to our very busy (and rewarding!) days.

Today, we had the opportunity to witness a diabetic leg amputation. I have observed many surgeries in the states, but none as impressive as this procedure. The surgeons worked at an incredible pace and with great accuracy. One thing I found interesting was that the patient wasn’t placed under general anesthesia – he was only given a spinal block and was in and out of sleep throughout the procedure. This method seemed completely adequate, however, it does differ from how we handle the same types of cases in the states.

It has been a fast-paced and jam-packed first few days but I have learned some incredible lessons both inside the hospital and out. There is so much more to Chinese culture than I could have ever imagined and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store!

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