July 12, 2011
By Doug Carroll
The conical straw hats and Antelope T-shirts gave them away as a 16-member contingent from GCU returned home Monday evening from an 18-day nursing exchange in China.
Dean Anne McNamara of the College of Nursing organized a welcoming party at Sky Harbor International Airport for the 12 graduate students and four faculty members who had flown nearly 16 hours, showing up exhausted but exhilarated by all they had seen and done.
"The students had a phenomenal experience," said Associate Dean Cheryl Roat, who went on the trip. "They worked side by side with physicians, and the physicians learned a lot about the role of our family practice nurses. (The Chinese) treated us like royalty."
The College of Nursing's delegation to China, after arriving home
The group visited the Changchun Medical College near Jilin, in the northern part of the country, participating in primary care and educating Chinese nurses on advanced practice.
Roat and faculty members Kay Turk, Jennifer Brodie and Anne Wendt were part of a professional development program at North University in Zhangjiako, in the HeBai Province.
"The hospitality was overwhelming," Turk said. "You can't believe what they did for us. There were welcoming banners everywhere. Our hotel had 'Welcome Grand Canyon University' on the marquee.
"Our students were paired with their doctors, and the doctors were astounded by the students' level of knowledge."
Already there are plans for a Chinese delegation to visit GCU, possibly as early as January 2012. McNamara is excited about the possibilities for a long-term partnership with the Chinese.
"This gave our students an opportunity to learn from Chinese practitioners about holistic caregiving," she said. "Eastern practices are so different from the West."