Overall, I learned a whole lot while spending 3 weeks in London for this study abroad trip. The focus of this trip was to compare the healthcare system in the United Kingdom, to the healthcare system we have here in the United States. Something that interested me the most (unsurprisingly since I’m a nursing student), was comparing the role of the nurse in the UK vs. here in the U.S. Here are some of the many interesting things I learned/did while on my trip:
1. Florence Nightingale opened the first professional school of nursing in London, changing the way nurses were trained and educated (more formalized). We went to the museum that is dedicated to her life and the impact she made on the nursing profession as a whole.
4. We got to visit the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which is a public research university that focuses on public health and tropical medicine.
6. We also got to visit the British Museum where we saw artifacts such as the Rosetta stone, as well as ancient medical equipment and compare it to the modern technology we have today.
2. To work as a qualified nurse in the United Kingdom, you need a degree in nursing and you must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Nursing students are required to choose one of the four nursing specialties (adult, children, mental health, or learning disability) that they will study. They can only practice in this particular field that they choose. These programs are MUCH cheaper than in the U.S.
3. We got to visit Oxford and Cambridge. Besides the absolute beauty of both college towns, seriously, it was like something out of a Harry Potter book, we learned that penicillin was discovered at Oxford in the 20th century.
5. We did a variety of walking tours. One of the walking tours focused on the history of the royal family and their contribution to health care/health policy in London.
7. An interesting fact I learned was that nurses get paid MUCH less in England than in the United States (Less than half!)
8. One of the concerns I had before going abroad was being in such a large group, and figuring out how to still be able to see or do things that I personally wanted. Due to the fact that London has such an incredible, easy to use transportation system, I was able to go and see things I personally wanted alone by using the train system (also known as the “Tube”).
9. Some of the things we did for fun and to explore the culture is eating fish and chips, seeing the Phantom of the Opera and Mamma Mia! on West End (the Broadway of London) and visiting the many art museums across the city.