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Student Nursing Exchange 2015

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 selected spend two weeks in their Sister City studying healthcare provision and nursing education.

Blake Martin and Lorena Lozano, from Houston Baptist University arrived in Aberdeen on 17 May, 2015 and were welcomed by Joanne Peters and Rebecca Gardiner, of the Robert Gordon University, who will pay a study visit to Houston in September.

Pictured (left to right) are Rebecca, Lorena, Blake and Joanne.

This was Blake and Lorena’s first overseas visit and as well as attending classes and presentations at the RGU School of Nursing and Midwifery, Lorena and Blake visited various hospital departments and healthcare establishments in Aberdeen.

They spent a day in the Accident and Emergency Department at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and also visited the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

They also visited the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, Royal Cornhill Hospital, the Wood Group PSN Occupational Health Unit, two charitable organisations offering support services to cancer sufferers, Clan House and Maggie’s Centre and spent time with the community nursing team working from Garthdee Medical Practice in Aberdeen.

Blake and Lorena were entertained to lunch at Aberdeenshire Council heaquarters by Provost Jill Webster and Councillor Ron McKail, Chairman of the Grampian-Houston Association (GHA).

When they visited Aberdeen Town House Provost George Adam presented the four student nurses with glass candle-holders bearing the city’s motto Bon Accord.  Lorena is pictured signing the visitors’ book at the Town House watched by (L to R) Kristin Jackson-Brown, GHA student exchange co-ordinator, Rebecca, Joanne, Blake, Lord Provost Adam and Jackie Leith, RGU’s Acting U.S. Exchange Co-ordinator.

In their free time Blake and Lorena visited Balmoral Castle, The Queen’s holiday home on Royal Deeside, Glengarioch Distillery at Oldmeldrum, the historic Dunnottar Castle at Stonehaven and they managed to fit in a day visit to Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city. They also attended a performance of the musical Wicked at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen (see picture).

At the end of their visit they were guests of the Grampian-Houston Association at a dinner at the Cults Hotel and were welcomed by Councillor McKail who presented them with inscribed quaichs as a memento of their visit to Scotland.

He is pictured here seated with Joanne, Blake, Lorena and Rebecca and members of the Grampian-Houston Association including Prof. Ian Murray (extreme right), Head of the RGU School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Rebecca and Joanne flew to Houston on 12 September and were introduced to Houston/Grampian Association members (pictured below) at a dinner at the home of Ross and Anne Davidson before being welcomed to Houston Baptist University by Dr Renae Schumann, Dean of the School of Nursing.


On a visit to CHI St Luke's Hospital they were able to watch a delicate aortic aneurysm repair operation in progress. On completing the operation the surgeon stepped back and crossed himself while the support staff in the operating theatre applauded.


At Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital Rebecca and Joanne heard about the Hermann Life Flight which transports patients by helicopter from within a 150 mile radius of Texas Medical Centre. The service is operated by a non-profit organisation which relies on community support and fund-raising to cover the $3 milllion annual cost.

 The students were entertained at the home of Dr Robert Sloan, President of Houston Baptist University, and his wife Susan (pictured) and Houston City Council member Mike Laster and UK Consul General in Houston Karen Bell (pictured) were among the guests at a dinner at HBU when the four exchange students gave their impressions of healthcare in Texas and Scotland.


As well as lectures and educational visits the programme arranged for Rebecca and Joanne also included some light relief with visits to Galveston and College Station, the NASA Manned Space Centre, Pasadena Rodeo, and baseball and American football matches.


Rebecca and Joanne's study visit to Houston was funded by the Grampian-Houston Association while Blake and Lorena's visit to Aberdeen was sponsored by the Wood Group.