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Student Nursing Exchange 2014

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.

Speaking at a dinner at the Cults Hotel marking  the 20th anniversary of the exchange Aberdeen Councillor Ron McKail, Chairman of the Grampian-Houston Association, said the association took considerable pride in having been able to provde 80 student nurses the opportunity to study the healthcare system in their Sister City.

He thanked the Robert Gordon University, Houston Baptist University and their staff for the essential contribution they had made to the success of the scheme and also thanked the GHA members who had acted as co-ordinators of the exchange over the past 20 years - Bob Davidson, Marlene McLeod, Margaret Hadley and Isobel Maughan.

Councillor McKail presented Melanie and Isha with inscribed quaichs as a memento of their visit to Grampian and Aberdeen Lord Provost George Adam presented the exchange students with ornaments bearing the City of Aberdeen crest.

Among guests attending the dinner was Dame Anne Begg, Member of Parliament for Aberdeen South since 1997 and Chair of the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee.  She is pictured with the four exchange students and Leanna Will (back left), of the Robert Gordon University, and Isobel Maughan (back right), of the Grampian-Houston 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.

During their two-week programme in Aberdeen Melanie and Isha, along with Fiona and Sally-Anne were entertained at Aberdeen Town House by Lord Provost Adam.

He is pictured here with (L to R) Fiona, Isobel Maughan, of the Grampian-Houston Association, Isha, Sally-Anne, Jackie Leith, of the Robert Gordon University, and Melanie.

The students were also the guests of Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster for lunch at Council Headquarters, Woodhill House, Aberdeen.

The four student nurses selected to participate in the 20th year of the exchange are, Sally-Anne McWilliam (left) and Fiona Mutch (right) from the Robert Gordon University and Melanie Honeycutt and Isha Patel from Houston Baptist University.

Melanie and Isha arrive in Aberdeen on 18 May and Fiona, of Aberdeen, and Sally-Anne, of Pitcaple, Aberdeenshire, visit Houston in September. At the invitation of the Houston/Grampian Association a delegation from the Grampian-Houston Association will fly to Texas on 23 September to attend a dinner at Houston Baptist University marking the 20th anniversary of the exchange scheme.

During a visit to Houston in May, 2014, Aberdeen Lord Provost George Adam met HBU student nurses Melanie Honeycutt and Isha Patel and they are pictured here with Houston/Grampian Association Chairman Mary Metz M.B.E.

Sally-Anne and Fiona flew to Houston on 13 September,2014 to undertake a busy programme of hospital visits and fact-finding at Houston Baptist University’s School of Nursing. HBU President Dr Robert Sloan and his wife Susan welcomed them students to the university.


At the world famous Texas Medical Centre they were shown round several hospitals, including Methodist, Memorial Hermann South-west, Texas Children’s Hospital, and St Luke’s where they were accompanied by Houston/Grampian Association Vice President Quin McWhirter, whose grandfather founded St Luke’s in the early 1950s.    


They were welcomed to Memorial Hermann Hospital by Dr Nancy Yuill, the hospital’s Manager of Performance Improvement. Dr Yuill had a close involvement with the student exchange programme when she was Dean of Nursing at Houston Baptist University.


From the observation unit in the cardiac intensive care unit at St Luke’s Fiona and Sally-Anne were able to watch open heart surgery in progress. They saw an operation underway on a patient who had suffered a heart attack and also a coronary by-pass operation. They were shown round the Heart Museum in the Denton Cooley Building named after Houston’s celebrated heart surgeon. Dr Cooley, now aged 98, still visits the hospital on most days.


Pictured at St Luke’s Hospital are (L to R), Kristin Jackson Brown (GHA),Isha, Fiona, Sally-Anne and Quin McWhirter.


At Texas Chiropractic College in Pasadena, Harris County the students were welcomed by the kilted Dr Kenneth Sorrels.

Members of an exchange delegation from the Grampian-Houston Association were guests at a dinner at Houston Baptist University to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Grampian-Houston student nursing exchange. The four 2014 exchange students gave a presentation at the dinner on their impressions of health care and nursing in the UK and US.