Caring for Patients 7,500 Miles from Home

Visiting nurses' arrival at Greater Cincinnati - Northern Kentucky Airport

At the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Airport. From left: Xing Liu , Nurse, Robert (Bob)Hitzler, Qiong Chen, Bob’s wife Ching, Qiu Jin, and Jingjing He.

University of Cincinnati Medical Center proudly welcomes Jingjing He, BSN, RN; Xing Liu, BSN, RN; Qiu Jin, BSN, RN; and Qiong Chen, BSN, RN to Cincinnati. The four nurses arrived here on May 2nd from the West China Second University Hospital of Sichuan University (WCSUH-SCU), also known as West China Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Sichuan University, under the Ministry of Health (MOH) of China. The visiting nurses will stay in Cincinnati through the beginning of August to learn about women’s health services and will job shadow UC Medical Center nurses in labor and delivery, mother and baby, antepartum, gynecology, Neonatal Intensive Care, emergency and ambulatory services. This unique opportunity will provide insight on our patient-centered care model, the value of community engagement and resources, clinical practice procedures, supply management, and training and education. This experience facilitates learning opportunities for both UC Medical Center employees and WCSUH-SCU’s visiting nurses and supports Initiative 20 of UC Health’s 2017 Strategic Plan—“develop new partnerships and affiliations.”

The WCSUH-SCU’s nurses connected with UC Medical Center as a result of a three-month job shadowing experience that their manager, Yan Huangyy participated in during the late summer of 2011. Yan spent three months observing with Ruby Crawford-Hemphill, ACNO and other UCMC and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center nursing staff. Since this time, Yan and Ruby have stayed connected via email; continuing to share ideas and thoughts relating to women and infant services.  Yan contacted Ruby last fall to begin the process of coordinating and planning a robust observational experience for Jingjing, Xing, Qui and Qiong.

Qiong Chen explained that getting here required lots of interviews with their managers to determine who was best suited for the program.  Chen said, “We all wanted to develop a better understanding of the differences between our hospitals and countries so that we could bring this information back home with us to enhance the patient care we provide in our own country.”

So what are some of the differences? As Qiu Jin explained, their hospital (WCSUH-SCU) has been certified as a “Baby-Friendly Hospital,” since 1993, while UC Medical Center is currently working on earning the “Baby-Friendly Hospital” designation through a grant funded collaborative supported by the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality.  The designation supports breastfeeding as the optimal method of infant feeding in an environment that is sensitive to cultural and social diversity.

Another difference is that in China there is no position for a PC-A, nurse educator or health unit coordinator. However, the responsibilities from those positions are absorbed by the nurse. In addition, there is no role for case manager and social worker. The abundance of disposable medical supplies sets the hospitals apart as well. In China, they sterilize and reuse medical supplies more often than in the US. There is much emphasis on quality, productivity and efficiency as it relates to patient care and service.

Visiting nurses from West China.

From left: Ruby Crawford-Hemphill, Assistant Chief Nursing Officer, UCMC; Qiu Jin, Jingjing He; Xing Liu;; Qiong Chen; and Harrieth Mwalupindi, Clinical Program Manager, UCMC.

Culturally, there are many differences as well. Qiu Jin explained that in China, her work schedule changes each week from day shift to night shift.  She said, “Family support is really important, and every member wants to help each other. Out parents want to help care for our little ones.” This makes changing from day shift to night shift while caring for children easier.

This is the first time any of the women have been to the US. During their first month, they went to a Reds game, the Cincinnati Zoo, a few summer festivals, specialty food stores, and an NBA game in Indiana, Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers, at which they cheered for both teams.

Xing Liu enthusiastically said, “It’s been an unforgettable experience. Americans are very nice and helpful.” Jingjing He chimed in, “UC Medical Center is great. You have a first class team which provides great care, advanced technology and education.”  The women were especially thankful for Harrieth Mwalupindi, MSN, RNC-OB, Clinical Program Developer in obstetrics and mother baby units, who has worked closely with the women during their time here.

The women keep a daily log of questions and answers that they communicate daily to their managers in China. They keep in touch via a social media program comparable to Facebook that they have on their phones. They’ve been taking lots of photos and notes along the way to document their learning.

Their medical institution back home, WCSUH-SCU, embraces the philosophy of loving life and caring for patients by continuing to pursue every excellence in medical skills, service and management for the health of women and children. This philosophy seems to ring true for them even more than 7,500 miles from their homes.

The WCSUH is the second largest hospital in China for women and children with 600 registered beds. Its Ob/Gyn and Pediatrics are rated as National Key Disciplines.  The medical center has 590 nurses and 338 doctors who care for patients with critical and complicated diseases from the Sichuan and other west China provinces. In 2013, WCSUH served approximately 1.7 million outpatient and emergency patients, discharged 47,000 inpatients, performed 47,000 surgeries. The hospital has received numerous recognitions; including ranked #1 among all of the women and children’s hospitals in China and “Best Hospitals in China-2012”.

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