Austrian Nursing Students spend two weeks at Brock

It was a brief visit to Canada, but two third-year nursing students from Austria gained valuable experiences during a two-week internship with the Brock University Department of Nursing.Maria Schmidt and Lisa Manzenreiter are enrolled in the Paracelsus Private Medical University of Salzburg, Austria, which requires a mandatory internship that can be fulfilled anywhere in the world.“We found out about the partnership with Brock University from our professor at Paracelsus who provided us with a list of opportunities,” said Manzenreiter.When the pair saw Brock was an option, they thought it would be a great opportunity to see the Canadian landscape in the fall.Schmidt said everyone at Brock made them feel welcome.“There are a lot of people who wanted to help us, and there is a lot of support for us here from the students and staff.”The pair was provided with a calendar of classes they were invited to attend.“Through the classes, we have learned about Canada as another type of healthcare system with similar concepts and interventions to those in Austria,” said Manzenreiter.Having the Paracelsus international students here is a reciprocal agreement for Brock nursing students, said Brock Department of Nursing Chair Dawn Prentice.“Not only does the agreement with Paracelsus provide Brock with the opportunity to raise the international profile of its Nursing program, it also provides Brock nursing students with the opportunity to learn about healthcare in another country,” she said.During the two week internship, Schmidt and Manzenreiter participated in a simulated blood transfusion and a nasogastric tube placement scenario. They also attended a community clinical with a student who was implementing art therapy with seniors, which allowed them to interact with seniors in a retirement home and carve pumpkins with some of the patients. The pair agreed it was a fun experience, especially because if they were to visit a nursing home in Austria, it would have been different because of stricter regulations.Schmidt said the lab setting at Brock was also a new experience for the pair.“Because we are specialized to be psychiatric nurses, we had not experienced a clinical lab setting exactly like what is taught here,” she said. “Brock has a lab with patient simulators that includes babies and a mother giving birth, which we do not have in our program.”Schmidt and Manzenreiter are now encouraging Brock nursing students to participate in an internship at Paracelsus.“We invite you to visit our amazing country. Austria is very beautiful. We have snow in winter, warm summers, lots of lakes and the Alps,” said Schmidt.She said Austrian cities are old, with Vienna being a standout.“But Salzburg, where our university is located, has a long history of classical music. It is the city where Mozart was born and has many cultural experiences. Any Brock students with an opportunity to visit Paracelsus should definitely come. They won’t be disappointed,” Schmidt said.

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