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Clinical in China

Last week, we started clinicals in the hospital. It has been very interesting to see the differences between the health care systems in the United States and in China. Here in China, nurses have a lot more responsibilities than they do in the United States. There are no techs or nursing aides to help out. Instead, families are expected to help out, but nurses are ultimately responsible for their care. Also, they do not have any physical therapists to work with the patients, so all of these activities are the responsibility of the nurses. A lot of the designs on the units such as how the walls are decorated or what resources are available are the creation of nurse managers. Some examples of this are two way windows in the endoscopy center so clean instruments can be transferred between the cleaning room and the treatment rooms, educational walls for patients to view, and a wall decorated to welcome the patients to the unit. Also, nurses in China typically have at least eight to ten patients at a time to care for. There are also several similarities that I have noticed between the two countries. Both strategically place patients so those that have the highest acuity or risk are placed closest to the nursing station while those who are more independent and stable are placed further away. A lot of the nurses have mentioned to us how they have adopted techniques used in the United States such as knocking on patients’ doors before entering and doing more frequent pain assessments. Also, a lot of the units here in China are implementing the usage of English either by having daily quotes in English, doing reports in English and Chinese, or having other English immersion activities. Currently, nursing is growing in China. We got to visit one of the newest areas in the hospital we are staying at, which is a specialty area. Inside, they have wound/incontinence/stoma care, diabetes education, pain management, and PICC placement/management. These nurses all have specialized training for their domains, and they are so new that the certification comes from the hospital because the nation has not developed one yet. One of the most interesting parts of this area for me was the cabinet of food that showed portion sizes for patients with Diabetes. This was unique for me because it had models of traditional food found in China such as lotus root, rice buns, and pomegranates as typical foods a person might consume. I am used to seeing Western foods in this type of display, so it was different to see what other cultures considered to be staples. Besides school, we have done a lot of walking around and shopping. We recently went to the silk market where we found scarves for as little as 10 RMB, which is the equivalent of $1.63 USD. We also have gone to the night market and several streets filled with shops. Here in China, it is acceptable to barter for prices at most places, which we have begun to learn to do. A lot of vendors refuse our offers because they know we are American, but some have worked with us. Next week, we are headed to Songyang, Beijing, and Xian so we can see more of the country and different parts of the culture.

3 Things I wish I would've done to prepare for college


1. Buy a smaller laptop

More Than Ramen: How To Survive Groceries on A College Budget


It's a pretty common joke, and something we all like to talk about; college students don't have a lot of spare money to buy organic free range chicken and red bell peppers (those are the expensive ones, I would know).

But all joking aside, it really is hard to maintain a diverse diet on a budget that allows for maybe $40 a week on groceries or so. And while some of us have meal plans and get a copious amount of food for that, not everyone has or chooses that option.

So what do we do to survive eating on a college budget without consuming strictly ramen and peanut butter and jelly?

My roommate and I both have become experts at this, and here are some of my tips from our many conversations about this topic.

1) Have A Smartphone? USE IT

There are a TON of coupon and cash back apps available on both iPhone and Android, so if you happen to have a smartphone, you've got a resource for saving money and getting money back for your groceries. That's right, groceries. A few examples are Ibotta and Checkout51, which give you cash back incentives for certain products, Target's Cartwheel, which gives you an extra percentage off on certain products, and Shopkick, which gives you "kicks" for walking in to certain stores, which can be reeemed for gift cards.

2) Make A List

A lot of people tell me they just go to the grocery with a vague idea what they need and grab stuff off the shelves. It makes me feel panicky, because it leaves entirely too much room for impulse buys. Instead, plan out what you're going to need for the week. I usually plan some meals, snacks, and desserts, and get all the ingredients I need for those. That way, I only buy what's on the list, and have already planned out how much I can spend. That's not to say I don't occasionally grab an extra package of cookies or chocolate, of course--you only live one, after all.

3) Sales Sales Sales

Sales and specials are your friends. Sign up for your grocery's weekly ad email and stock up on things while they're on sale (Gina and I, for instance, watch Target's Diet Pepsi prices like hawks). Additional tip: combine store sales with coupons or cash back offers.

4) Take Your Time

Comparing prices and quality of products in the store takes a little extra time, but sometimes it's worth it. The store brands are often--but NOT ALWAYS--cheaper, and often they're just as good as the products you lean towards out of familiarity. Plus, sometimes a certain brand is on sale at the store and has a coupon, like mentioned above, so you can get extra savings that way as well.

5) But Go Easy On Yourself

Do you really, really love artisan bread? Or cupcakes from an actual bakery? Leave a little wiggle room to spend an extra buck or two on something you really like, even if it's not the chepeast option. Treating yourself will make your budget seem less depressing and awful, and thereby make it easier to stick to it.

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