Reflective Diary

Saturday 27th February 2010

We arrived in Otopeni airport today and the welcome we received was very nice. Diana Seitan greeted us with flowers and introduced us to Nicu who drove us to our apartments. We met Sabina who is the host of Bettina and Lucy. She was very lovely and although she doesn’t speak much English, it has been a lot of fun to communicate through acting! We are very pleased to have such nice apartments. We went out to dinner with Diana and Nicu to a very nice restaurant. We felt in good hands, very safe and well looked after.

Sunday 28th February

In the morning we went for a walk to take in Bucharest. We visited the Lipscani Shopping Street which Diana had recommended. We saw some homeless people and some stray dogs. This is the first thing that is quite different for us as in Switzerland and England we don’t sea so much of this. We were saddened to see elderly people who looked poor and struggling. We then went to McDonalds on Piata Romana to meet Lucy. We got to know each other and went for coffee in a nice bar.

Monday 1st March

We were told yesterday by Diana that today is a day when Romanians celebrate the start of spring. At breakfast we received our first gift from Sabina, a lucky charm we are told. Later on the way to the school we received another of these from Miss Micky who kindly took us to the school. The school was very big. We were shown into the demonstration classroom where we received beautiful flowers, again a gift for the first of March. We like the idea of celebrating the start of spring and maybe we will celebrate it next year in Switzerland and England.

There is a bed in the middle of the room with two dolls, an adult and a child used for demonstrating nursing procedures. Around the bed the desks are arranged in a circle so that all the students can sea what is being thought. We think this is very good and this is something we don’t sea much in Switzerland or England. We are taught about the structure of the course and are surprised to hear that Romanian students have to learn a lot about the instruments for surgery. In Switzerland to be an operation assistant nurse it is a different course. In England it is the same course but we don’t learn so much about instruments and surgeries until we get a job as a theatre nurse (surgery nurse). We were shown a demonstration of the insertion of a gastric tube. Though it is hard to follow everything completely, it is very interesting to see how a practical lesson is taught in Romania.

We are introduced to Gabriella and Florin who are students at the school. We are also introduced to George. George gave us his telephone number and said to ring if we wanted to go anywhere. We are all so pleased about how kind everyone is here and later we discuss that in England and Switzerland the people are not as kind and welcoming as they are in Romania.

We then went with Miss Micky, Florin and Gaby to a hospital where we met Florian Chirn who we are told is the director of nursing and the author of a very important nursing book in Romania. We had our picture taken with him and he explained a little about the neurology department.

In the afternoon we went with Gabi and Florin to Piata Unirii where they took us to more shops and to the supermarket to buy some food to take back to out apartments. They took us for some food and some drinks. We had some very interesting conversations and learned from Gaby and Florin that in Romania hospitals there are “infirmieras” who help the nurses and who wash patients. In Switzerland and England washing patients and helping them with hygiene needs is a big part of the nurses role and although we also have nursing assistants who help to clean patients it is not exclusively their job.

Tuesday 2nd March

We meet Miss Micky and we go to the Valentina hospital which looks big and old. We went first to the neurology intensive care unit. Here we met Stefan who showed us around and kindly demonstrated some procedures to us like feeding a ventilated patient through a gastric tube and attaching the bag or the end to collect the vomit to prevent the patient from choking. We noticed that the most patients seemed to be tied to the bed with a trip of material. This really surprised us and so we asked Stefan why the patients were tied in this way even when it seemed that the patients were quite sane and not agitated. We were told (by Florin who was translating for us) that the patients were tired to the bed to prevent them turning in their sleep and pulling out their cannula or falling out of bed. Later we discussed that this would never happen in Switzerland or England.

We were also shown the EE.C.G. Room and the E.E.G. room and show how they were done. These procedures seemed very similar to in our countries but the instruments seemed older. Around the hospital we were surprised to find that there were not so many hand washing facilities or alcohol gel pumps. In our countries this things are all around the wards (stations) and it is compulsory to wash your hands or use the alcohol gel before and after touching a patient or performing a nursing procedure.

Over dinner we talk with Gaby and Florin about the day and the differences we have seen. They tell us that obviously it is more important to invest the hospitals funds or patients and their medicines and treatment rather then or modernizing the facilities to look more attractive.

Wednesday 3rd March

Today we went to the Elias hospital which is the best public hospital in Bucharest. Straight away we noticed how different this hospital is from the last. It seems very modern and very similar to the hospitals you might find in Switzerland or England. We were shown to us apartment on the ward and told that this is for when the president needs to stay in hospital. It is very big, has its own kitchen, bathroom, office and even a room for the bodyguard. It seems a little unfair to us that while one patient is sharing a room with 20 other patients, another has his own kitchen, office, because he is the president. We visited the gynecology and obstetrics ward next. While the facilities here were very impressive, we were surprised to find that the babies were kept in a separate room to the mothers. We are also told that the fathers cannot be present while the mothers give birth because there are also other women who may be undressed.

We then visited the surgery ward (station) and noticed that not all of the beds were electronic and had the ability to go up and down. This surprised us because in our countries all the beds have this function so that we can look after our backs so that we don’t get an injury. We are told that it is more important to look after your patients then yourself, and we are told all the time to look after our own health.

We are very impressed with the intensive care ward and found it very similar to in our countries.

Thursday 4th March

Today we went to a private hospital called the Euroclinic. It was very very modern and more modern than the hospital in our countries. There are alcohol gel dispensers here we notice and they are even automatic which is new to us. We visited the maternity ward, surgery ward, the intensive care ward, Dr’s clinic rooms, rooms for taking blood samples and a radiography department. All of which are very nice, very modern and pleasant. In the maternity ward we are told that here the fathers can stay with their partners during labor and can even stay over night if they want to. The mother can also choose if she wants to keep the baby in the room with her. The nurses here had a more similar role to the nurses in our countries as these were no nursing assistants here. We also notice that there is a lot of information leaflets and anatomical posters on the walls. This too is similar how it is in our countries. Visitors here are given magnetic cards to enter the wards. We are all surprised to see such a huge difference in the standards of the first hospital we visited, for example and the Euroclinic. We did not expect such a difference between hospitals as the country is post communist. But we obviously still have a lot to learn about communism and Romania.

Florin and Gaby took us again kindly to a nice restaurant to have some lunch and to discuss the day.

Friday 5th March

Today we are taken to an emergency hospital. We are given a brief tour of the hospital. We noticed that there were rooms with 22 patients and this is very strange for us. They were mixed rooms and 2 beds were right next to each other. This too is very strange to us. We are then showed around a new department of the hospital which is yet to open. It is very nice, clean, and modern and has very good technology.

In the afternoon Florin and Gaby took us to visit the Palatul Parlamentului. We were all amazed at how big and pretty it all was and were told that what we had seen was only 5% of the whole building!

The weekend 6th & 7th March

Gaby and Florin took us to a big shopping mall on Saturday which was a bus ride out of Bucharest (we had planned to go to Sinaia but the weather was too cold). The mall was really big. We got free makeovers because a salon had recently opened there and we spent time looking around the shops. Afterwards we went out for some dinner and then went to bed. On Sunday we walked through the markets to buy souveniers to take home and tried out some Romanian desserts in a café. In the evening we were invited to George’s house to watch a film. He and his mother were very good hosts.

Monday 8th March

Today we visited Spitalul Caltea. We visited a surgical ward, an oncology ward, a hematology ward and an intensive care ward. The hospital was being renovated and so some of the salons were very full. On the oncology ward a really nice doctor who showed us around told us that sadly these was no psychologist available to the hospital but that, being  an oncology department, a psychologist would be really good. She also said that the nurses had adapted their role because of this and were really good. The doctor then showed us a patient who seemed to have mental health issues and looked distressed. The doctor told us that she was homeless and had been treated very badly and even raped several times and that even through the woman was no longer being treated, the hospital was trying to keep her there longer to avoid sending her back to the streets. It was really interesting to hear the patient’s history and case like this. We noticed that these were a lot of people waiting in the corridors of the hospital. We were also told (about the patient we mentioned above) that all the other women in the salon helped to comfort and look after her. We thought this was very nice and we also see this kind of friendly atmosphere amongst the patients of our countries. After the visit we went for coffee to discuss the day and our impressions of the hospital.

Tuesday 9th March

Today we visited Spitalul Clinic Dr. Ioan Cantacuzino. Again we visited all the different wards and departments such as: medicine, surgery, EKG, sterilization room, laboratories, a lecture room, intensive care, gastroenterology, cardiology and gynecology & obstetrics. We met the chief nurse who was really nice and friendly and she showed us around the hospital. At this hospital we were told about the new rules about the distance between beds. For this reason most of the salons in the hospital had only 3 beds and 5/6 at the most. We saw that most wards had a lunch room and we think this is really nice, and helps to make patients feel more at home. We think that our hospitals in our countries could benefit from having similar lunch rooms for patients.

We are told on one ward that there were only 2 nurses to look after 56 patients (28 patients each). For us this is a lot of patients as we are used to looking after between 1 and 8 patients. We imagine that it is very difficult to look after so many patients even with the help of a nurse assistant.

After we are shown around the hospital we go back to the office of the head nurse where we are given a coffee and some very nice bread which we are told is to represent 40 Christians who died. We will try to read about this when we get home to get a better understanding of it.

Wednesday 10th March

Today we visited Spitalul Universitar. We are told that it is the second biggest hospital here with 1100 beds and 4000 employees. Firstly we are shown the maternity unit which we are told is one of the best in Romania. We are shown a plaque on the wall which has the logos of UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). When translated we are that it means that this is a “friend care” hospital. This means that here the mother is kept with the child after birth. We have not seen this before in Romania. We think that even through mothers have to share a salon it is really nice to see the babies with their mothers. In our countries this always happens. We ask about community midwives (who help mothers to give birth at home) and health visitors (who visit mum and baby at home after the birth) but they do not have these jobs here. We then visited the orthopedics unit where while we were being shown the salons, a woman who was receiving a massage we are told is for her scars was completely naked. Also in the maternity unit in the salons we were shown around the women were often undressed and breast feeding. This shocks us as in our countries we are always being taught the importance of privacy and dignity.

We were then taken to the angiography room where there was a window into the operating theatre and screens which showed the radiography. We were shown a lot of interesting procedures here such as embolisation of a uterine fibroid to shrink it, a cerebral aneurism, the use of cement to correct the vertebrae of a patient with osteoporosis and a disc hernia.

At lunch time we went to the foundation for women. There we were told about a very interesting and important woman Dr. Mioara Mincu. We tried some very nice traditional Romanian food and listened to a speech by this Dr’s son who, since her death, is now the director of the foundation and of the school. He is very kind and after we write a note in his book about our experiences have we are each given a gift which contains a beautifully hard waver  rug, chocolates and English version of the book given at the meeting.

After this Diana took us through one of Bucharest lovely parks and into the biggest church, also very beautiful. We then went for coffee with Diana to discuss our experiences and what we had learned about Bucharest and Romania. We have really enjoyed our time have and have gained a lot from this experience. Thank you!

Lucy Perry (Leeds, England)

Bettina Gosteli (Biel, Switzerland)

Melanie Weiss (Biel, Switzerland)

Deborah Meyer (Lyss, Switzerland)

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