Nursing Faculty Explore Academic Exchange in China
The People's Republic of China is sometimes referred to as a rising “superpower”, with emerging economic and military strength. In fact, some scholars estimate that its global power and influence is on par with that of the United States. That kind of thinking is what prompted nursing faculty members Joan Pryor-McCann and John Chovan, along with nursing department chair Pat Keane, to explore opportunities for academic exchange in this exciting and mysterious country. McCann thinks it is essential that Otterbein students have the opportunity to gain exposure to this culture, not just nursing students, but all students including those in business and education.
The trio spent nine days in November in China, four days touring in Beijing and five days in Nanning presenting at an international conference at Guangxi l Medical University. Nanning is located in southern China near Vietnam. “We are interested in a potential exchange of faculty and students including some online educational opportunities between Otterbein and Guangxi Medical University,” explained Keane.
The exchange came about through Otterbein's provost, Dr. Victoria McGillin’s close relationship with Dr. Guiying Liu, associate dean and Dr. Mo Xue’ An, nursing dean of Guangxi Medical University. Keane commented that neither Dr. Liu nor Dr. Mo is a nurse, which is normal in China. McCann added that in all of China, there are only about 50 nurses with master’s degrees.
Besides presenting at the conference with attendees from countries as diverse as Thailand, Indonesia and Scotland, the group toured several nursing units at a premiere hospital. Keane saw the possibility for collaboration with the Chinese in areas of care delivery and patient education. The hospital appeared to be equivalent to those in the U.S. “It’s hard to tell when you just do a walk though visit of a facility, but the equipment looked to be quite modern,” observed McCann. “Of course, here we’re used to private rooms. They don’t have that kind of arrangement there,” added Keane.
“They’re cutting edge in some technologies, such as hand reconstruction,” Keane noted. “We could explore some exchange classes online in master’s courses. But we would have to work out tuition issues, etc. The challenge for us is that more people in China can study in English than here that can study in Chinese.” She noted that a possibility could exist for faculty exchanges as well. Capital University has already signed an agreement with Guangxi Medical University
Their visit also included a cultural trip to the mountains above Nanning to visit a folk village and a cave. The Hgoung are an ethnic minority in China. They also visited a brand new folk museum that attempts to preserve the heritage of various groups in the Chinese culture.
“Our hosts were very gracious and accommodating to us – housing, everything was covered. A bigger question is would we be able to reciprocate in the same manner?” Keane asked.
McCann said she has wanted to create an SYE trip to China for some time, but because of the quarter system, it was difficult. “Shanghai in the summer is just too hot," she commented. But now with the semester schedule, she thinks it could be possible to have two-week visits in May or in Nanning over J-term.
With an appreciation of various cultures and a mission of scholarly pursuit, Otterbein continues to make connections and friends worldwide.