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Student Nursing Exchange 2011

Since 1995 an annual exchange of students nurses from the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and Houston Baptist University has been arranged by the Grampian-Houston Association and the Houston/Grampian Association.

The students spend two weeks comparing healthcare provision and nursing education and practice in their Sister City areas. Following their study visit they submit reports on their findings to the two Associations.

The student nurses selected to take part in the 2011 exchange are Kay Strachan and Valerie Stephen, of The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, and Brianna Tyler and Traci Estacio, from Houston Baptist University. The study visit by the students from Texas will be from 16-28 and the RGU students will fly to Houston in September with their air travel being sponsored by the Wood Group.   Brianna and Traci are pictured here.

They were welcomed to Aberdeen by Prof. Brian Webster, Head of the School of Nursing at the Robert Gordon University and had meetings with the Lord Provost of Aberdeen Peter Stephen and Lady Provost Sandra Stephen at the Town House and Elinor Smith, Director of Nursing and Quality at NHS Grampian.

They were entertained to lunch at the Town House and are pictured here with the Lord and Lady Provost as Kay Strachan, of Portlethen, signs the visitors’ book with (left to right)  co-ordinators of the exchange scheme, Leanne Morrison of RGU and Margaret Hadley, of GHA, Traci Estacio, Brianna Tyler and Valerie Stephen  (Picture by Norman Adams, Aberdeen City Council)

The visiting nurses attended tutorials at the Robert Gordon University and visited Aberdeen’s Albyn Hospital, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, NHS Grampian Accident & Emergency Unit,  the Intensive Therapy Unit at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, and the Skene Medical Practice, at Westhill, near Aberdeen, where they were briefed on the work done by the community care team comprising district nurses, health visitors and nurse specialists.  

In their limited free time the exchange nurses managed to fit in visits to Edinburgh and  the Royal Family’s summer home at Balmoral Castle on Royal Deeside.

At the Grampian-Houston Association dinner in honour of the exchange nurses Raymond Bisset, Chairman welcomed the company (pictured) who included Lady Provost Sandra Stephen, former Lord Provost John Reynolds, Councillor Ron McKail, of Aberdeenshire Council, Prof. Charles Skene, Elinor Smith, Director of Nursing, NHS Grampian, and Leanne Morrison, of the Robert Gordon University.

Raymond presented Traci and Brianna with inscribed quaichs as a memento of their time in Aberdeen and all four students expressed their appreciation of the opportunity to participate in the exchange.

GHA Co-ordinator of the exchange Margaret Hadley thanked all those who had contributed towards the success of the 2011 exchange, including the Wood Group who are meeting the travel costs of Kay and Valerie’s visit to Houston.

Pictured below:  Raymond Bisset with (left to right) Valerie Stephen, Traci Estacio, Kay Strachan and Brianna Tyler.

Kay and Valerie visited Houston in September,2011 and are pictured here with the two Houston exchange students Traci Estacio and Brianna Tyler, Houston/Grampian Association Chairman Mary Metz and Houston Baptist University Nursing Instructor Sue Schneider.

The Robert Gordon University students sat in at classes at Houston Baptist University (HBU) and toured various medical establishments at the world famous Texas Medical Centre. At St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital they watched a liver transport operation in progress and saw The Terrace, an area of the hospital where VIPs and patients from overseas are treated. They also visited the Denton Cooley Museum dedicated to the work of the international heart surgeon and to the development of the artificial heart.

The students gave a PowerPoint presentation at a dinner attended by Houston/Grampian Association (HGA) members, UK Consul General in Houston, Andrew Millar, and Dr Margaret Ugalde, Director of Student Nursing at HBU. Lesley Santamaria, representing Houston City Council and the Houston Sister Cities Partnership, presented the nurses with gifts.

HGA President Ross Davidson thanked the Wood Group for sponsoring the student nursing exchange and Aurise Bain, a Past President of HGA, presented HBU with a painting of Aberdeen by noted Scottish artist Eric Auld.

In their leisure time Kay and Valerie were taken to a rodeo, a High School football game and a women’s volleyball match against Mississippi State.

Kay and Valerie submitted a written report on their impressions of healthcare provision and nursing education in Houston and they gave a presentation on their findings to members of the Grampian-Houston Association Board. Pictured here are: Seated (L to R) Leanne Morrison, of The Robert Gordon University, Valerie, Grampian-Houston Association honorary member Heather Anderson, and Kay. Standing (L to R) David Paton, Ron McKail, Ian Gordon, John Reynolds, George Duncan, Margaret Hadley, Marlene McLeod, Bob Davidson, Lady Provost Sandra Stephen, Sandra Fulton and Eric Duncan.