Open World Brings Insights to Local Nurses

Open World Brings Insights to Local Nurses

The Bemidji Pioneer

September 09, 2009

Rhonda Bender, Nicholle Bieberdorf and Alice Thompson, nursing instructors from Northwest Technical College, got an up-close look at health care in Russia.

During their tour of a regional health hospital, the nurses were asked to watch at his side as the doctor performed surgery on a patient.

“We were blown away with how much we got to see,” said Bender.

From June 23-29 the NTC nurses toured Tomsk, Siberia, with a motive to visit clinics, hospitals and nursing students from the local universities.

The nurses traveled as exchange professionals through an organization called Open World, which offers hands-on activities — such as workshops, job shadowing, and site visits — related to the delegates’ professional work in their home country.

Since it was founded by Congress in 1999, NTC and Bemidji State University have worked with Open World to provide exchange trips for students and professionals.

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Thompson, who has served as the Open World Community Coordinator for Russian delegates in Bemidji for six years, wrote a grant, which was later approved to fund the trip.

Last year, a group of six nursing students from Russia visited NTC and BSU through the Open World program. The students were given tours of the medical facilities and college nursing programs in Bemidji.

This was the first year nursing instructors from NTC traveled to Russia to do the same.

The three nurses arrived in Tomsk after traveling by plane from Moscow. A local English teacher from Tomsk traveled with the group as their translator.

Throughout the week the nurses met with administrators, doctors, nurses, and students from Siberian State Medical University and Tomsk Basic Medical College.

They visited the Regional Clinical Hospital and were given tours of the department of health. They met with the chief specialist of nursing and the chair of nursing clinical practice.

“They were so welcoming and so concerned that we would have a positive experience,” said Bieberdorf. “We were very well taken care of.”

The nurses answered many questions from Tomsk medical professionals about the two-year and four-year nursing programs at NTC and BSU.

None of the NTC nurses spoke the language, which made it a challenge to overcome the language barrier.

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