This morning we presented our Service Learning Project, that we have been working on for over a month, to the University of Stirling nursing faculty. We presented on Shifting the Balance of Healthcare in Scotland. The faculty enjoyed our presentation and we received excellent feedback from them.
After a lunch on campus, we traveled to Edinburgh again to explore the Mary King Close. This was a historic (and haunted) tour that led us through the now underground close (alleyway) that used to house over 700 people during the 1600s. This was the second largest close in the city and is famous for it’s many stories such as tales of murder, the black death, and the plague doctors who wore masks filled with spices to ward off the “bad smells” which they believed caused the plague (pictured below).
We then enjoyed ourselves at a fancy (and pricey) dinner at Maxie’s Bistro which we were served fried brie, roasted duck, fish and chips, salmon, and enchiladas. We explored more of Edinburgh afterwards and took a late night train back. Overall, another great day in Edinburgh; we are sure to miss this grand city!
We started out the day bright & early with a taxi to Forth Valley Royal Hospital to hear about the services mental health patients are offered here in Scotland. We heard multiple community nurses, an acute care mental health nurse, and a patient receiving treatment speak about the mental health system here. While the approach is very different from the United States, it’s a holistic, very patient centered system. We learnt from our speakers that mental health nurses are all specialized in a specific area(s) of treatment such as cognitive therapies, behavioral therapies, mindfulness, dialectal-behavioral therapies, and many others. The service user who came to talk to us told us his story and how the mental health services here has completely changed his life. He was very open to answering all of our questions and gave us a more complete insight into the system here.
After our day at the hospital, a few of us went on a walk around the University of Stirling to explore the beautiful campus. We found a trail behind our accommodations that led us to a big meadow & a trail to the nearby mountain the Wallace Monument lays upon. We then explored some of the University’s greenhouses while enjoying the local flora & fauna here.
Today we learned about Scotland’s community health nursing. We started the day with different sessions of district nursing, childhood health nursing, tissue viability nursing, and continent nursing. After the sessions we returned back to the flats for a slight nap due to the fact that it was pouring rain and jet lag finally catching up with us. Post-nap we ate dinner at the dining hall and then walked to the Bridge of Allan to explore a local pub and converse with the locals. Today was a laid back day, however we learned that new mothers have many resources readily available to them, anyone can be cared for at home regardless of their condition, and that home health nursing is moving forward in Scotland, in terms that one day they hope to be able to give IV antibiotics and fluids in the home setting.
Today we had our clinical rotation at Forth Valley Royal Hospital and Falkirk Community Hospital. We got to see first hand the differences between the U.S and Scotland’s scope of nursing practice and let me tell you there’s quite a few. For example, medications (expect for narcotics) are not located in a Pixis but in an unlocked “duckett”, patients bring their own toiletries, and nurses have to be specially trained to do blood draws or IV lines. On the floor, everyone was seen as an equal no matter what profession. We enjoyed our time in the hospital and getting to know the Scottish students that studied abroad in Tampa.
After our clinical rotation we went into the city of Stirling where we enjoyed authentic Scottish ice cream and walked to the castle. Along our walk we saw a royal graveyard and beautiful scenery. On our 10 mile walk home, we got lost a total of 2 times, found a lost dog and reunited it with its family. Overall a pretty productive day in Scotland.
It started slowly enough with our daily trek to the dining hall for breakfast and our orientation with Mrs. McBride, the head of nursing here at the University of Stirling. She and her colleagues then invited us to have lunch at a local restaurant called Meadow Park here in Bridge of Allan. We then left to start our 9 mile hike up the hills towards the Wallace Monument, constructed in honor of Scotland’s first war hero: Sir Walter Wallace. Upon reaching the monument, we climbed 300 stairs to the very top to witness a breathtaking view of the nearby city of Stirling and some of Scotland’s countryside, sheep included!
After a dizzying trip down, we then hiked a few miles through the mountainside only to get lost on the trail and had to backtrack to the monument. Winded and sore, we walked to the campus for dinner & dessert. Things we learned today: look left and right before crossing the street, how to properly flush the toilets here in the flats, watch your step when walking, the nursing program at the University of Stirling required 2,300 clinical hours in their three year program, & that there is in fact blue skies and sun that shines here in Scotland!
Today we took the ScotRail into Edinburgh (pronounced ed-in-burah). We took two groups to the train station. One group knew where they were going; the other group (Emily, Nikki, Micayla, & Adison) thought they knew where they were going. Needless to say we ended up to be the only people at a closed train station. However, thanks to our speedy cab driver, we did make it on the train with only seconds to spare!
On our walk to the Edinburgh Castle we saw: an architectural exhibit, a museum, bagpipe players, shops and street venders selling an assortment of handcrafted items. The castle was rich with history, but extremely windy and cold. We learned what drawn and quartered is, and let’s just say it does not sound fun. After the castle, we started our trek down the Royal Mile. We visited many shops and stopped for lunch at an authentic local pub called “Ensign Ewart”. After that, we walked around and explored the historic beautiful city of Edinburgh.
After multiple unexpected delays at each airport, minimal leg room on the plane, and sleeping uncomfortably for half an hour on the six hour flight, we finally arrived at the Edinburgh Airport in Scotland, UK! Professor McGhee proceeded to drive most of us (except Adison and Evonne who rode with Ms. Lockett) to campus. He did not immediately inspire confidence when in the car he said something along the lines of, “I have to get re-adjusted to driving here”. What we heard was “buckle up”!
We arrived in Stirling and settled into our flats, took a short nap, and met for dinner. After dinner, we walked to the nearby town of Bridge Allan and explored. We hiked up a hill, and while looking for Nessie we came across something much more attractive, but familiar (see below).
While exploring, we went to the market and bought snacks. Several of us were excited to buy our first and probably only kinder eggs! For those who don’t know, it is a chocolate egg with a toy inside which is illegal in America (choking hazard!). Thankfully, none of us choked. We are enjoying our stay here and can’t wait to explore the country more!