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Faculty of Nursing delegation from Thai university visits UC to discuss ideas, opportunities for collaboration

Emma Larouche

22 September 2023: A delegation from Burapha University in Thailand recently visited the University of Canberra and University of Canberra Hospital (UCH) to learn more about simulated learning environments for nursing and midwifery students.

Burapha University’s Faculty of Nursing opened its first simulation lab two years ago, offering a more practical learning environment for students, who come from China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, and Laos.

Among the delegates was Dr Sahattaya Rattanajarana, a nursing Assistant Professor and University of Canberra alumna. Dr Rattanajarana graduated in 2006 with a PhD and was excited to return to her alma mater.

“UC has given me so much and I’m so proud to have completed my thesis here,” Dr Rattanajarana said.

“Before I came to Canberra, I didn’t think I needed to study abroad, but I learned so much about cultural differences, and the guidance from my supervisors equipped me with the skills to teach postgraduate students.”

Dr Rattanajarana has gone on to supervise 30 theses in the Faculty of Nursing at Burapha University, as a specialist in nursing administration.

“The way I teach is modelled on my experience at UC, where I’m always telling my postgraduate students that we need to learn about policy to prove whether or not it is suitable for the population,” she said.

“We cannot do the same thing [all the time], because if we do, the result will be the same, and if you want to improve, we need to improve the process. That is why new ideas are so important.”

Dr Rattanajarana and her colleagues were eager to learn more about how the University’s nursing discipline translates theory into practice, through simulation labs designed to mimic real-life scenarios in healthcare.

The University of Canberra’s Head of School, Nursing and Midwifery Professor Jenny Weller-Newton facilitated the visit and said it prompted discussions about potential research collaborations in aged care and palliative care, along with potential opportunities for exchange programs.

“The delegates attended simulation classes at UCH and Burapha University’s Dean of the Faculty of Nursing, Associate Professor Pornchai Jullamate, informed me that they were impressed by the access to hospital learning spaces on campus,” Professor Weller-Newton said.

Dr Rattanajarana said she was proud to show her colleagues how the University of Canberra’s Faculty of Health has developed a practical teaching and learning environment and is looking forward to bringing new ideas back to Thailand, for Asia’s future nursing workforce.

“The more experiences we have as teachers, the more knowledge we can share with our students.”