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Monica Distefano '14
6th Grade Math Teacher
Major: Elementary Education
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- Nursing and Math Students Experience China Up Close
Nursing and Math Students Experience China Up Close
March 4, 2011
The Curry College Nursing and Mathematics departments again teamed up to give their students a once in a lifetime co-curricular experience.
In 2010, Mathematics Professor Tracy Wang, along with Nursing Professors Susan LaRocco and Eileen O'Keefe brought nearly two dozen math and nursing majors to China.
The trip was the third of its kind in the last 4 years. And although there was plenty of time for students to have fun, explore and do tons of site-seeing, the trip had an academic focus.
Students who took part in the experience enrolled in either one of two courses, NSG 3000: Contemporary Topics in Nursing International: The China Experience, or Math 1170: East Asian Mathematics: An Alternate Approach, each counting for three credits.
This means they were required to attend seminars on various topics prior to the journey and keep journals during their time in China. Nursing students were also required to submit papers on Chinese healthcare practices and culture while math majors were assigned five research papers on Chinese mathematics history and famous Chinese mathematicians.
The group visited two Chinese hospitals and a university along the way. The Second Military Medical University welcomed the Americans with a sign that read, 'Welcome Curry College Faculty and Students.'
Wang, a native of the Far East actually taught an Asian math class while there, while LaRocco gave two presentations on qualitative research. O'Keefe was also busy, holding several seminars for students along the way.
During stops at the Beijing Friendship Hospital and the Shanghai Huashan Hospital, students were exposed to the stark contrast between American and Chinese medical culture. To the American students accustomed to significant personal space and privacy, the Chinese methods were eye-opening.
"One of the interesting things that the students commented on was the lack of privacy in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinical area at Beijing Friendship Hospital," recalled LaRocco.
"Patients were seen in rooms that contained back to back desks, basically touching each other, meaning two healthcare providers would meet with two different patients at the same time. Also, other patients would come in and interrupt the consultations with questions of their own. In the acupuncture area, patients were doubled up in each curtained cubicle, laid out on stretchers that were almost touching each other."
As the culmination of their hard work, students submitted their journals in the form of PowerPoint presentations shown during a reunion during the fall 2010 semester.