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Student Nursing Exchange 2016

The  four students met for the first time in  Aberdeen on 15 May  (L to R) Megan, Victoria, Ciera and Ruth.

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.

The student nurses taking part in the 2016 exchange are Victoria Simms and Ceira Newbell, from Houston Baptist University, and Ruth Gilligan and Megan Aracena

Victoria and Ceira are pictured here with Grampian-Houston Association's nursing exchange co-ordinator Kristin Jackson-Brown  (right).

The Houston students were welcomed at the Robert Gordon University on 17 May by Prof. Ian D. Murray, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery and during their two weeks in Grampian Ciera and Victoria visited the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary's Accident & Emergency Department and Intensive Therapy Unit, Aberdeen Maternity Hospital and Rubislaw Park Care Home. They also looked at community health services such as district nurses, health visitors and cancer support centres.

Their programme was arranged by RGU Adult Nursing Lecturers Jackie Leith and Leanna Will, who are the university's U.S. exchange co-ordinators.

The students had coffee with Lord Provost George Adam at Aberdeen Town House and were entertained to lunch by Provost Hamish Vernal at Woodhill House, Aberdeenshire Council headquarters (see pictures)  where they saw a set of Texas flags presented to Prince Charles during a visit to Texas in 1986.  The 10 flags used during the first 150 years of Texas history were given by Prince Charles on loan to the Grampian-Houston Association for display in Aberdeen.

In their free time the students paid a weekend visit to Edinburgh, Scotland's capital city, and visited the ruined medieval fortress Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven, and the 15th century Castle Fraser near Kemnay.

Before they completed their visit Victoria and Ciera were guests of honour at a dinner hosted by the Grampian-Houston Association at the 19th century Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel, Aberdeen. Association Chairman Brett Jackson presented the Houston students with inscribed quaichs (Scottish loving cups) as a memento of their time in Grampian Region (see picture).  RGU student nurse Ruth Gilligan entertained the company with a violin solo featuring a Scottish farewell lament. Ruth is a former member of the Scottish National Youth Orchestra.

True to the City of Aberdeen's motto "Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part, Happy to Meet Again,"  Ruth and Megan look forward to a reunion when they pay their study visit to Houston from 11-24 September, 2016.

In July, 2016 the organizers of the Houston end of the exchange programme paid their first visit to Aberdeen where they met with staff at the Robert Gordon University and visited Rubislaw Park Care Home where Kristin Jackson-Brown, GHA student nursing co-ordinator, is Director of Nursing.


Pictured (L to R) are Marlene McLeod, former GHA nursing co-ordinator, Alice Coulter, from Kentucky, Nursing Prof. Donna Cox and Assistant Prof. Susan Schneider, of Houston Baptist University.

They also met with some of Grampian nurses who have taken part in the nursing exchange scheme in previous years.

Before flying to Houston on 10 September the students were were presented with cheques by the Grampian-Houston Association to cover expenses during their visit. GHA exchange co-ordinator Kristin Jackson-Brown is pictured handing over the cheques to Ruth (left) and Megan at the Robert Gordon University.

Megan and Ruth flew to Houston on 10 September and at Houston Baptist University (HBU) they were welcomed by Dr Schumann, Dean of Nursing, and given a tour of the campus.  On a visit to Houston City Hall they were welcomed by Mayor Sylvester Turner and Council member Mike Laster.


At HBU they sat in at classes in pharmacology, health assessment, mental health and obstetrics. They also  gave a presentation to the nursing students’ association on the Grampian-Houston exchange scheme and what they had learned during their visit to Houston.

During their tour of Texas Children’s Hospital they addressed the nursing freshmen’s class and also visited South-west  Memorial Hermann  Hospital . At CHI St Luke’s Hospital they watched open heart surgery taking place on a 27-year-old man who had suffered heart failure and were shown “ The  Terrace,“  suites where VIPs like Royalty and Presidents receive medical care.

A visit was  arranged to Texas A&M University at College Station and in their off-duty time Megan and Ruth were taken to NASA, Houston Zoo, the Galleria Shopping Mall, the  Natural Science Museum,  Washington County Fair in Brenham and attended a Houston Astros v. Texas Ranger baseball game.  A weekend visit to the State capital of Austin was also included in their schedule.

The two student nurses have been invited to give a presentation on their visit to Houston to the Grampian-Houston Association Board on 13 December.