Saturday April 6th: As our time in Scotland draws to an end, we enjoyed the last breakfast at the University of West Scotland (UWS) Hub. The staff was very kind and helpful throughout our entire stay. After leaving the Hub, we delivered our Service Learning Project presentations on alcoholism and the baby box initiative to various UWS faculty, who provided great feedback. Afterwards, the UWS faculty thoughtfully treated us to a great lunch and some traditional Scottish gifts. We had an amazing time, and it was difficult to say goodbye. Learning from and working with the UWS faculty has been a memorable experience.
During the afternoon, we visited Paisley Abbey, which dates back to 1163! The Abbey was full of history and beautiful architecture.
We had a volunteer guide us through and explain the various important historical aspects of the Abbey.
That evening, we went to Glasgow to shop for souvenirs. Some of us went to a gourmet pancake house for dinner, while others went to Benihana Hibachi Grill. Our last Friday in Scotland was amazing!
Thursday April 4th: Today was our last day of clinical! We spent our day at Woodland View, a mental health hospital.
We were spread out on different floors including acute inpatient, elderly mental health, addictions inpatient, and forensic rehabilitation. It gave us the perfect chance to experience the differences between mental health care in the United States and in Scotland. Some of the students got to participate in group therapy activities including a nature walk and making Easter chicks with the patients.
After leaving Woodland View, Dr. McGhee and Chris Collins took us on the scenic route back to our accommodation and drove us along the west coast of Scotland in Largs. The sun was out and the views were breathtaking.
Also on the drive, we were able to see more rolling hills occupied by sheep and their lambs, which was a favorite view for all of us. Once returning to our accommodation in Paisley, we had our last dinner in the Hub at University of West Scotland.
Although bittersweet that we are leaving to head back in a few days, our accommodations and clinical experiences have been amazing and we are sad that they are over!
Wednesday April 3rd: Today is our last day in the district nursing clinical rotation and community health nurse setting. Our nurses have been gracious hosts and we are sad to have to part from them. One office nurse even took some students out to lunch to commemorate our visit.
We’ve learned so much from visiting people in their homes and it was very humbling to have the opportunity to work on such a personal level with the people of Kilmarnock. Students observed home health nursing skills such as medication reconciliation and administration, wound dressing changes, how to properly set up new medical equipment in the home, patient education, and breastfeeding assistance among new mums. The relationship that the district nurses have with their patients is admirable and something we all agreed to implement into our own nursing practice once we return to sunny Florida.
Speaking of sunny weather, another remarkable thing about
Scotland is we experienced three seasons within a matter of days. That’s right…it
Tuesday April 2nd: Today was our first day of community clinicals, where we worked with the district nurses to complete home health visits. We were separated and went to different parts of the countryside. We observed how personal the relationship between the patient and district nurse is, and how much the patients truly trust their nurse.
These visits also gave us some insight regarding what the standard Scottish home looks like. The patients who lived in these homes were very warm and welcoming to us. Some of the homes we visited were on farms so we were also able to meet some farm animals!
After the clinical day was done, we all met to have dinner and get ready for our nightly sightseeing outing.
We can’t wait to experience our last few days of clinical here in Scotland; they have been amazing and extremely educational thus far!
Monday April 1st: Today we had the pleasure of spending our day at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) and spent some time reflecting on the previous week and sharing experiences. As a group, we researched two important topics in Scotland: the provisional government-supplied baby boxes (with supplies), and alcoholism. We presented our information to UWS faculty, USF faculty, and the USF Dean of Nursing. We learned about the accessibility and purpose of the baby boxes in Scotland and how they allow each child to start off life in a positive way. Additionally, alcoholism is a major health issue in Scotland and we discussed the effects and some interventions that can help mitigate effects of this issue.
Since we will be working in the community of Scotland this week, the UWS faculty sent us through a new type of simulation. The purpose was to simulate what it is like to have a variety of conditions we might encounter within the elderly population such as dementia, neuropathy, arthritis or vision impairment. The best part was….we had ALL of these conditions! We were padded up and loaded down with simulation gear while being given tasks to complete. It was an eye-opening (or impairing, rather) experience to feel what it is like to have these conditions. The simulation gave us a deeper understanding of why it is so important to be patient and compassionate towards all patients, elderly patients especially.
We are looking forward to our home visits this week!
Sunday March 31st: Today we traveled to Stirling and explored Stirling Castle. We took a guided tour and were able to learn about it’s fascinating history. We were able to see what the Royals’ rooms looked like and where their meals were prepared. We also learned that the King’s house was designated by being the only building painted gold so that ships could spot it. The castle itself used to be a lot taller, but had to be remodeled in order to be preserved- it still looks beautiful of course. The views were AMAZING. We could have spent hours there.
After the castle and a quick bite to eat, we went to the National Wallace Monument, which commemorates William Wallace, a 13th century Scottish hero. The Monument itself was closed but we were still able to hike up the mountain and see the view.
We then went to the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Center, walked around the field, and viewed the statues, such as the one of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots.
This field is where the last battle in Braveheart took place- fun fact! Once we were done in Stirling, we went back to UWS to freshen up and relax before dinner. Another thing we learned today was that it is Mother’s Day in Scotland! We texted our moms! All in all, it was a great day of learning, views, and good eats! Can’t wait for the rest of the week!
Saturday March 30th: Today was full of fun and historic visits. Dean Rich also joined us on our endeavors. We started the day by taking the train to Edinburgh, where we then walked the Royal Mile.
On the Royal Mile, we saw J. K. Rowling’s hand prints engraved into the City Chambers stone floors. At the end of the Royal Mile is the Edinburgh Castle, which is absolutely beautiful and rich with history and extravagant architecture.
After the castle, we visited Mary King’s Close, similar in size and function as a narrow street or an alley. This Close used to be open to the sky, but is now beneath the City Chambers. We learned about the history of this this Close including the effects of the bubonic plague outbreak of 1645 and plumbing, which was not as advanced as it is today.
Afterwards we went souvenir shopping and indulged in some of Scotland’s trinkets. We also got to visit the Princes Street Gardens, which is a beautiful park in the shadows of the castle. Overall, we were immersed in Scotland’s amazing culture and look forward to what is yet to come!
Friday March 29th: We started the day on a long, scenic train ride to the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. As soon as we arrived, the rich history of the city was immediately all encompassing. Walking out of the train station, we stepped into Old Towne Edinburgh, onto the cobblestone streets and immersed ourselves into the buzzing culture of the city.
We first walked up the hill past tiny gift shops and cozy cafes to the gothic, St. Giles Cathedral. A rare moment of sunshine burst through the stained-glass windows, illuminating the cathedral, leading to an awe-inspiring experience.
Afterwards, we walked to the Elephant House, the cafe where J. K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series. From the back windows of this café, we were able to see the Edinburgh Castle in all its glory.
The day continued on a much spookier note as we toured the Edinburgh Dungeon, where we learned about some of Edinburgh’s darker moments in history. We concluded the day by walking the city, observing the beautiful architecture and sights in the city and having dinner with Dean Rich. We are ecstatic to visit the Edinburgh Castle tomorrow!
Thursday March 28th: Another beautiful day in Scotland begins by enjoying breakfast at the University of West Scotland (UWS) Hub. After breakfast, we rode to our last general adult clinical for the week. Time flies when you’re having fun! When we arrived at the Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, we posed for a commemorative photo. We have thoroughly appreciated our time at the hospital. This week, students observed knee and hip replacements in the theatre, focused on patient care, and received great advice on sights to see in Edinburgh tomorrow! We have seen some really interesting safety interventions at the hospital, including the customized patient pill packs for morning, afternoon, tea time, and night.
Also, there is a “how was your shift” jar to get feedback from the nurses about ways the hospital can improve. As our first week comes to an end, it was bittersweet saying goodbye to the nurses, nurse practitioners, and staff that we have gotten to know. They treated us with so much warmth and kindness, and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to visit their hospital!
Tuesday March 26th: Today was our first day of clinicals at University Hospital Crosshouse in Kilmarnock, Scotland. We arrived via vans driven by Dr. McGhee and Chris Collins after breakfast. Once we arrived to the hospital, we were placed on various wards, some including orthopedics, surgical recovery, and the emergency department. It was so interesting to see the differences between this hospital and the ones we have experienced in the United States!
A couple of students even got to experience the operating room, or as they say in Scotland, the “theatre”.
After clinicals ended, we were driven back to our accommodations in Paisley for dinner and then split into two groups. Dr. McGhee took one of the groups to visit the University of Scotland. This university was used as inspiration for the design of Hogwarts Castle in the Harry Potter movies and was breath-taking! The other group went with Dr. Gwartney into Glasgow via the train to do more exploring and sight-seeing within the city.
We are looking forward to returning to the hospital tomorrow to further compare American and Scottish healthcare systems.