PLU Nursing Students in China

Students mix learning old and new on China J-Term trip

By Barbara Olson

Editor’s Note: As a 2008 graduate from PLU’s Masters of Nursing Program, a mental health clinical instructor for the PLU School of Nursing, and now a co-facilitator on my second J-term study away program in China, I have the honor to provide a brief synopsis of the January 2013 NURS 287/CHSP 287 Study Away program. I hope to make my story come alive for you with the assistance of a few pictures.

Our group spent New Year’s Eve near the airport in Seoul, Korea. The main mission was to find a bottle of champagne which, with a little perseverance, was found in the back of a local grocery store. The next day we traveled to Xian, China where for three days we started learning some amazing things about Chinese history. We rode bikes for eight miles on the ancient city wall in the freezing cold.  We had a fantastic tour of the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum.  And from the seventh floor of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, we could see a city where approximately seven million people live. 

On Jan. 4, we arrived in Chengdu, where three weeks of studying Traditional Chinese Medicine were about to commence.  During the opening ceremony, words of welcome and appreciation were exchanged. First, we toured the newly built TCM Outpatient Clinic where we would experience twelve hours of clinical practice. Over the course of the three weeks, we had 50 hours of lectured material that was provided by experts in their field of study. The subjects covered were: Chinese culture of yin and yang,  theory of visceral manifestation, four diagnostic methods, syndrome differentiation, Qi, blood and body fluids, etiology and pathology of TCM, acupuncture, tuina manipulation, moxibustion, and cupping. On one afternoon, we visited a huge herbal market. 

On another day we visited a retirement home housing 50 “old people” (as they are respectfully called in China), and ten developmentally disabled children also lived in this establishment. Dr. Zhang Xian Geng, professor and vice president of the Nursing School of Chengdu University of TCM, and our own Dr. Guerrero gave students a lecture about concepts in nursing for an aging population. The program provided its residents the treatment modalities that combined what we were learning in China with our training in the United States. 

On the weekends while in Chengdu, we visited the minority village in Luo Dai, the Panda Research Center, a tea museum, the Leshan Giant Buddha, a spa within the Lingxiu Impression Hotel Emi and the Lomon Bio Technology Co. Ltd. We met many interesting people, walked and danced in the People’s Park, shopped (oh yes, did we shop!) and ate! 

Our four-day tour of Beijing included learning about the city's history, politics and spiritual practices. We listened to opera. We had a day to see Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. We saw an acrobat and Kung Fu show. On one freezing afternoon we took a rickshaw ride through an older part of Beijing. 

We spent one afternoon touring the American Embassy where we found out 700 Americans are employed along with 900 Chinese. PLU students were enlightened about potential job opportunities they could have while exploring the world. We met Ambassador Gary Locke who talked with us about our experience and his role in China. On our final day, we made our way to the Great Wall. What a way to finish a fantastic month in China. 

For more stories on this trip, check out our blog: