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Nurse training in Vietnam helps both sides

By Wildcat Opinions Board
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
April 27, 2000
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Assistant Nursing professor Sandra Cromwell is showing how the university can help those far beyond its community if it has the courage to expand its horizons. Cromwell will spend twelve days this May in North Vietnam teaching nursing skills, including how to evaluate patients' health, and how to uncover a patient's health history. Working with Denver-based humanitarian orginization Friendship Bridge, she will be helping them raise the standards of nursing in the country, and develop a master's degree in Nursing, so that they will be able to train their own nurses effectively in the future.

Especially in countries like Vietnam, nurses can save lives. People don't die for the lack of complicated surgery so much as they die for the lack of basic medical care. With the training that Cromwell is providing, nurses can dispense basic medical advice, and can work the machinery that saves people's lives. Doctors, certainly, can do all of this as well; but it is a far better use of their time to work with the patients that cannot be helped by the nurses, that need the advanced treatment only they can provide.

We have to put our past in Vietnam behind us. The American War, as it is called there, has long since been forgotten. It almost certainly would have been easier, and perhaps less controversial, to go into other countries. But it is important that we go to Vietnam, because the only way that we will be able to overcome our past there is to lay down a new future based on mutual understanding and compassion. Even better, Cromwell's next trip will take her to the city of Nam Dinh, in the northern part of the country, the part that we have always considered hostile towards us.

Today, going to Vietnam is more important than ever. After the end of the American War, many of the professionals that would have led such efforts internally fled the country. In this, we hold partial responsibility for their lack, and should help them recover, and move into the new century.

While the Vietnamese certainly benefit from the UA's involvement, the UA gains as well. By increasing the horizons of its educators, we are able to better learn about medicine, and how it should be applied. The experience is valuable to both sides, and should be continued even if for no other reason.

Since President Bush' 1000 points of light, the focus has been on private charity and compassion. More than ever, it has become the responsibility of universities to take the past of humanitarian aid. Perhaps the UA cannot do as much as Doctors Without Borders, or other large orginizations, but it can do what it does best- education- in foriegn venues. Education does not need to stop on campus. With programs like this, it can be something that enriches not just our society, but the whole world.

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