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Student Nursing Exchange 2018

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 and submit up a report comparing provision in Scotland and Texas.

The  Robert Gordon University students selected to take part in the 2018 exchange are Tara Tully (left) and Helena Buley. They will pay a two-week study visit to Houston in September, 2018 and two student nurses from Houston Baptist University will be in Aberdeen from 13-26 May.

The Houston Baptist University students taking part in their exchange - Laura Waters (left) and Leslie Rodriguez -  arrive in Aberdeen on 13 May, 2018.

At Aberdeen Airport they were greeted by Tara, Helena and Katie Baxter, U.S. exchange co-ordinator at the Robert Gordon University.

Their first visit was to Rubislaw Park Care Home in Aberdeen where they were briefed on the private care sector by Director of Nursing Kristin Jackson Brown, who is the Grampian-Houston Association’s Student Nursing Exchange Co-ordinator.

Leslie and Laura also visited Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, the Royal Children’s Hospital, the Maternity Hospital, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Maggie’s Centre for cancer sufferers and their relatives and Michies The Chemist where they heard about the role fulfilled by the pharmacy service.

While  at the Labour Ward Leslie, who is interested in maternity nursing, was delighted to be present at the birth of a baby boy.

Laura and Leslie were particularly interested in community health services provided from Tillydrone and Airyhall Clinics in Aberdeen and accompanied health workers on domiciliary visits. Such services in the community are not offered in Houston.

The four students, accompanied by Katie and Kristin, were entertained to lunch at Aberdeenshire Council headquarters, Woodhill House by Provost Bill Howatson and Deputy Provost Ron McKail, who is a past Chairman of the Grampian-Houston Association.

They  were also welcomed at Aberdeen Town House by Lord Provost Barney Crockett, who met Leslie and Laura  when he was in Houston attending the Offshore Technology Conference and Exhibition. (See below)

The students and Robert Gordon University lecturers Jackie Leith and Katie Baxter, were guests at a dinner hosted by the Grampian-Houston Association at the Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel, Aberdeen. GHA Chairman Jim Shiach presided and presented Laura and Leslie with inscribed quaichs (Scottish loving cups) and handed over cheques to Helena and Tara to cover expenses during their study visit to Houston in September.

During their leisure time Laura and Leslie went to Dunnottar Castle, south of Stonehaven and were treated to Aunty Betty’s ice cream and fish and chips in Stonehaven.  They were interested spectators at Fochabers Highland Games in Helena home town in Moray and they also attended a performance of  the musical “Oliver” at the refurbished Tivoli Theatre in Aberdeen.

Leslie and Laura (seated) are pictured displaying the inscribed quaichs which they received from the Grampian-Houston Association as a memento of their exchange visit to Aberdeen.

Also in the picture (L to R) are Helena, Katie Baxter (RGU), Grampian-Houston Chairman Jim Shiach, Kristin Jackson Brown (GHA ) and Tara.

The following News Release was issued by Robert Gordon University before the Houston Baptist University students left Aberdeen on 26 May, 2018.


Tara and Helena spent two weeks in Houston from 10 September visiting hospitals and heathcare organisations and sitting in at nursing lectures at Houston Baptist University. Their itinerary included visits to the Texas Medical Centre which covers two square miles and includes 21 hospitals and eight speciality institutions, eight academic and research institutions, four medical schools, seven nursing schools, three public health organisations and a dental school.  The cetnre employs more than 106,00 and treats 10 million patients a year, carries out more heart surgery than anywhere else in the world and delivers 25,000 babies a year - one every 20 minutes.

At a dinner in their honour at Houston Baptist University the four 2018 exchange students gave a presentation comparing healthcare provision and nursing education in Texas with provision in Scotland. The dinner was attended by HBU representatives, Houston-Grampian Association members, Harry Gee, President of Sister Cities International in Houston, and Houston City Council member Mike Laster, who is pictured with the students after presenting them with a Council Proclamation recognising the exchange scheme.

Helena and Tully concluded the 2018 exchange by giving a presentation to the Grampian-Houston Association Board on their study visit to Houston. They put forward a case study highlighting differences in how a patient requiring emergency hospital treatment would be dealt with in Texas and in Scotland.

They told of their visit to the Texas Medical Centre, the largest concentration of health facilities in the world, where they had the opportunity to watch a heart valve replacement operation in progress at St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital. They also visited an HIV clinic and Tara had a clinical day at a neonatal unit while Helena had a paediatric clinical day.

The students also drew comparisons between nurse training at Robert Gordon University and at Houston Baptist University.

Helena (left) and Tara (right) are pictured with Grampian-Houston Association Vice Chairman Kristin Jackson Brown (centre) and members of the Grampian-Houston Association Board