Emergency Medicine

UNMC to Vietnam – 2015

Bright and early on a Friday last month, Dr. Zeger, our clinical director, Dr. Habrat, a PGY-2 in the program (and future chief), Thanh Nguyen, an APRN in our department, Kathy Morris, a rural ED APRN and educator and I boarded a flight leaving Omaha. Four planes, 3 countries, an unplanned overnight stay in Tokyo and a long bus ride later (travel doesn’t always go as planned… but we got there) we arrived on Sunday evening at our final destination: Thai Binh, Vietnam. 

All packed up and ready to head back to Nebraska

(Dr. Habrat packed and ready to go!)

 Our first job that week was to teach trauma assessments, initial trauma resuscitation and team training to the medical and nursing students at Thai Binh Medical University. With the help of translators we broke up into two groups and lectured on Day 1 and then ran the groups through medical student/nursing student team exercises using their simulators on Day 2. They were ready to learn and after getting the hang of teaching with a translator (actually not much different than using one in the ED to take a history) we were able to answer questions, run through scenarios and discuss differences between trauma care in the US and Vietnam.

View from Thai Binh Hotel 

Panorama at lunch

(View across the street from our restaurant at lunch)

After two days in Thai Binh our hosts took us to see the stunning pagodas at Trang An, Bai Dinh, arranged for a traditional lunch in a postcard perfect area in rural Vietnam and then arranged for a canoe trip through caves carved by a river (while gorgeous I won’t say this was my favorite afternoon, but I have a thing about caves. ..and canoes).

UNMC to Vietnam March 2015

(Our UNMC EM Team)

We taught in Hanoi at the Hanoi Medical University on Thursday and Friday and again were impressed by the interest and ability of the Vietnamese students. Their English was so good we taught entirely without translators. Dr. Habrat got a chance to tell them true life tales of being a resident and got a chance to talk with the female medical students about being woman in our field. We were reminded that while we are spoiled — multiple high fidelity simulators, multiple sim labs with microphones, video and live cardiac monitors — with some good planning and good cases you can teach a tremendous amount with just some ET tubes, a c-collar and a plastic low-fi mannequin. With each simulated case, we watched the groups get better and better at working as a team and hope that we left both sets of students with some good experiences. 

Demonstrating C Spine precautions while intubating

(Dr. Zeger and Dr. Habrat teaching airway management)

Saturday, our last day in Vietnam, was spent playing tourist in the Old Quarter and then packing up for a thankfully uneventful trip back home. All of this was possible through a grant by the Vietnam Education Foundation the department obtained in honor a former faculty member, Dr. Paul Tran. (more details on that at:  http://app1.unmc.edu/publicaffairs/todaysite/sitefiles/today_full.cfm?match=10868)

Dr. Barthold and students from TBMU

(We met such incredible people)

This was my first time in Vietnam and first time teaching abroad. We were so lucky to teach engaged, eager students and at both medical universities could not have had more gracious hosts. This post does not do justice to all that we saw and all that we did there (the food, the traffic, the sights, the food, the food, did I mention the food!!) All in all, 5 EM faculty, 2 ED nurses practitioners and 2 EM residents were part of the 4 trips to Vietnam. As a department we are exploring the next location to team up with and spread some EM knowledge!


For some extra pictures and on the road comments check out #unmctovietnam and our twitter page @NebraskaEM

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