A student nurse from Hartlepool has returned home after an eye opening trip to Cambodia.
Claire Wilding, 32, was one of 17 second year Teesside University nursing students who made the long trip to South East Asia to work with nursing colleagues for the charity Transform Healthcare Cambodia.
The students visited the school of nursing in Battambang and gained an appreciation of nurse training in Cambodia and how it compares to nurse training in the UK.
Claire said about the 10-day trip: “Initially i found it really hard. For the first four days or so I just cried when I saw how poor the hospital was.
“The patients were so grateful that you were just there. One day were were talking about the difference between Cambodia and the UK and a man said to me that we might be rich in the UK because we have more things but people in Cambodia are rich because they have big hearts. It made me feel very humble.
“It was a fantastic experience for me as a student nurse but more I think as person.
“I’m so glad I went. I now appreciate everything, even tiny things we usually take for granted. People can see a massive change in me.”
Graham Jones, Senior lecturer in the department of health and social care at Teesside University is also a director of Transform Healthcare Cambodia.
He said: “The idea of the trip was for students to get to know the nursing staff and student nurses in Battambang.
“It is as much about learning from our Cambodian colleagues as it is about sharing the skills they have learned.
“I was extremely pleased and very proud with the way each and every students conducted themselves during the visit, displaying, curtesy, cultural awareness, knowledge and wonderful communication skill, they did themselves, the charity and the university proud.
“In my view visits like this enrich the experience of nurse training and help students appreciate different practices and cultures.
“The aim of the charity has always been to support and educate our Cambodian colleagues so they can improve and sustain the healthcare system themselves.”
The students paid for the trip themselves either by working additional shifts or fundraised more than £1,000 each.