Carmen Salvador and Lydia Albiñana came all the way from Valencia in Spain to practice their nursing skills in Molde.
By KRYSTOF DIATKA and PAVLA UJMIAKOVOA (photo)
HiMolde hosts a big network of international students studying different fields, but this semester there is also nursing students on an Erasmus exchange program. Instead of your regular Erasmus experience of lazy, easy study days and crazy party nights, those girls have it somewhat different.
Can you introduce yourselves?
Carmen: I come from Valencia in Spain. I am 20 years old. I am in third year of my nursing degree. And I stay in Molde for five months on Erasmus to do my practice here in nursery home, home care and hospital . After I am done with my degree I would like to work as a midwife and help deliver babies.
Lydia: I am 20 years old I also come from Valencia in Spain, I am Carmens classmate and we follow the same study program here. I would like to work as a nurse in the emergency room.
Why did you decide to study nursing?
Lydia: At first I wanted to be a doctor, but to be accepted into that line of studies one has to have very good grades from high school and I did not fulfill that requirement. So in the last year of high school I decided to be a nurse. When I passed the first year of my degree I knew I made a right choice because I realized that as opposed to doctors, nurses are the social part of every hospital .
Carmen: I always loved babies and at high school I enjoyed all the natural subjects. I think that the nurses have less formal and more friendly contact with the patients therefore I never wanted to be a doctor.
Why did you pick Norway out of all countries?
Lydia: Mainly because we wanted to improve our English.
Why not Great Britain or USA then?
Carmen: In our school we had only few choices to pick from and Norway had the best level of English out of them.
Lydia: Also Norway, out of those few choices we had, is the most different from Spain, so I wanted to experience that. The health care system is significantly different too, that is an experience we could use in our future professional life.
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So what would be the difference between nursing education here and in Spain ?
Lydia: There are some differences, I think that the subjects are very similar, but in Spain we get more of it.
Lydia: To finish a nursing education in Spain takes four years and only three years here. That’s why I think that nurses are a little bit better prepared for working in Spain than in Norway
Carmen: But on the other hand Norwegian students practice more and in Spain we spend most of the time in the class room.
Lydia: That is true. I did just one week of practice in two years of studies.
What is the most eyecatching difference between Spain and Norway for you?
Lydia: The traffic. It is much more quite and polite. Nobody honks at each other like crazy.
Carmen: And there are much less traffic lights. That would cause chaos in Spain
And what about differences in treating patients ?
Lydia: From our practice here I could say that the nursing homes are very different. Here in Molde everything is pretty new and well taken care off. Also the amount of staff is different. There are only two-three patients per nurse. In Spain in hospital there is usually three nurses per 20 patients. I think it is because in Spain they do not assign enough money to the medical system.
How much money does a nurse make in Spain?
Lydia: It is around 1500 euro (apx. 12900 NOK) a month.
Norway is pretty expensive, how do you manage with Erasmus scholarship?
Lydia: It is 300 euro (apx. 2550 NOK) a month.
Carmen: But we get an extra support from Norwegian government. All together it is 1000 euro (apx. 8500 NOK), so we manage without any problems. But if we did not have that extra support it would be almost impossible.
How does it go with your practice?
Lydia: The first day I felt very frustrated because of the language barrier. I could not speak to the patients due to the fact that most of them do not speak English. That is quite problematic, one of our duties as nurses is to speak to the patients and lighten their spirit up.
Carmen: Sometimes we get help from other nurses and they translate for us.
Lydia: And we use non-verbal communication a lot, that helps.
What do you actually do in that nursing home?
Carmen: We make beds, bath patients and feed them.
Lydia: The first couple of weeks we are going to do that, but I hope that soon our supervisors will allow us to take care of wounds and take blood samples. I am looking forward for that.