Greetings from Hanoi!
Vietnamese people believe that they are the children of a mountain fairy and a water dragon. The fairy and her dragon fell in love and the fairy moved to the sea shore. They got lots of children but the fairy could not be happy without her mountains. She took half of the children with her and moved back to where she came from. The water dragon took care of the other half. The story is easy to believe because Vietnam is a land of great mountains and the sea.
I am doing my 7 weeks internship in Hanoi Medical University Hospital. The first four weeks of my internship consists of mornings at the surgical department and of participating lessons with local students in the afternoons. There is also another Finnish girl participating the same courses. The next 3 weeks we’re going to spend at the emergency department and as a future emergency nurse I look forward to it! The local students are our tutors during our internship. The doctors don’t have time to teach us and many of them lack English speaking skills so that’s why it is easier for everybody to have the students to guide us. Most of the patients don’t speak any English so the communication with them is difficult. But we smile a lot with each other and they are very interested in Western nurse students.
Hanoi is a city of great contrasts. In the city centre you can find expensive restaurants and shops, and you almost forget that Vietnam is not a rich country. The majority of Hanoi consists of shabby buildings and narrow streets where the local merchants buy fruits and vegetables, meat and fish. Forget the cold chain, it is okay to keep the meat products laying on the table whole day. There are chickens walking freely in the city streets and once I saw a man skinning the chicken next to the pavement. It is very dirty everywhere and air pollutants are a big problem. Vietnamese people are friendly and helpful. I have been travelling around Asia when I was younger and I always hated the way many people try to take advantage of me when talking about money. It happens here also, but not so much. People stare at me because I am a western girl with almost blond hair, but mostly they let me be alone.
My favourite Vietnamese food is bun cha. It is a local soup made of pork and noodle. It costs approximately 25000 Vietnamese dongs, about 90 cents in euros. As a coffee lover I tasted the famous Vietnamese coffee. It is a bit strong and sweet for Finnish taste, but still very good!
During my free time I have been exploring the city. I went to see the botanical garden and the famous water puppet show. The show was interesting and crazy in a good way, I recommend it to anyone who travels to Hanoi. I’ve been travelling outside of Hanoi also, to see the famous Halong bay and the valley of Mai chau. I love travelling and the countryside, so it is very difficult to me to stay in Hanoi for a long time. Especially because the population of the capital is 7,5 million.
Vietnamese nursing culture is very different compared to Finnish one. The hospital where I am working is one of the best hospitals in Hanoi but still I can see the differences. Protection against infections is not so strict as it is in Finland and for example gloves are not used very often. It has been difficult for me to do all the things in Vietnamese way and not how I learned to do them in Finland. The treatment of ulcers is made with iodine only and some treatment practices differ a lot from Finnish ways. Sometimes it is difficult to keep myself from questioning the practices, but still I can see that local nurses and doctors are very professional and I learned a lot here. Privacy is not a big deal, there are approximately ten patients living in the same room and sometimes nurses need to make extra beds to the floor or have two patients in the same bed. There are no curtains around the beds and all the nursing operations are done in front of other people. Including catheterizing. The nursing work here consists mostly of medical treatment. Families take care of feeding and washing the patients.
I have been enjoying my life in Vietnam and fortunately I still have 5 weeks left.
The time in Vietnam has passed very fast and my time in the exchange is going to end this week. I wouldn’t believe. The flight home came as fast as coming to Vietnam for the first time. At the same time I feel excited to go back home but at the same time I also feel I will miss my time here. I don’t know why, but at the moment I feel a bit empty and I have given my best effort for this exchange.
My last practice has been at the ICU department at the Bach Mai hospital. Everything is new for me because I have no experience about critical nursing and of course the protocol and the equipement is different in some points. I still think I have done quite good; I have been observing a lot because sometimes you don’t have any practical job to do and some days I can do more like take blood samples and feeding the patients. Here in Vietnam practicing in hospital is very different than in Finland. My vietnamese friend and a english speaking nurse student has been a huge help for me here. Most of the nurses don’t speak english so you might guess how hard it is to understand or even do anything when we don’t understand each other.
Blood goup testing
Big gas bottles on the hospitals’ yard.
On my freetime I have gone around Hanoi and Vietnam. I have had time to travel also which is very nice. The latest I visited Phu quoc and Halong bay. Places were different but both beautiful.
Small beach bar in a quiet beach in Phu quoc.
Beautiful view from Monkey island in Halong bay.
The best view in Vietnam. 1kilometer high in Cat ba islands national park.
I think the biggest difference between Finlands’ and Vietnam practice is that in Finland everything feels organized, as a student I know what happens at the same week and month, in the practice there is someone professional to guide me. I think that exchange student who goes to Vietnam, has to be mentally orientated and very very independent, there will be a lot of cases when things won’t work as you wish so you need a looong nerves. I think the time here has also tought me a lot more calmness, I can cope with the unknown and I have learned to laugh (in my mind) to some situations that haven’t gone so well at first. But everything will be handled, it just takes more time usually.
Many kilometers long mosaic wall in Hanoi.
I hope I didn’t sound too rough but I know what I’m talking about. In my case I have done a lot of practical stuff in the practicies and also observed. I feel the biggest lesson here and in an exchange is not the practical stuff, it’s the things that happens inside, mentally. Vietnam is not an easy case, but when you handle it, you can be very proud of yourself. You have time to do practical things in Finland but nurses’ profession is a lot more and I really recommend Vietnam. Are you ready!
Almost two months has passed now and I’m more than a halfway of my exchange here in Hanoi, Vietnam. In last post I mentioned that the beginning of this month I go to another hospital (which I hear, is the biggest in Vietnam). So almost one month has passed in the emergency department and it has been very interesting to see how acute nursing works in here.
I can’t say what are all the differencies between Finland and Vietnam but I feel there is many differencies between emergency departments with these two countries (I haven’t been practicing in Finland department like this).At least I know one big difference, which is the amount of people in the department. There is a bit less than 20 patient places but it isn’t rare that there is over 20 patients to be treated at the same time. Many doctors, nurses and of course students work at this department. Usually patients are being transfered to some other specific department during the same day but sometimes patient can stay few days.
Advice poster for recognizing the similar looking medicine ampoules and packages.
I have seen in this department very multiple patients with different disorders. I have also taken ecg and blood samples from the patient, put iv-lines and many other practical things. I have also had a chance to see when doctor intubates the patient. The department is very busy and hectic; very different compared to the postoperative department. First few weeks I just observed and didn’t have so many opportunities to do things and maybe that’s because of the hectic environment.
Different kind of dead snakes in the hospital and a local ambulance.
I had four day holiday so I took a trip to Dalat, which was beautiful mountain area (1500m) and lots of nature and water. I think it was very relaxing to go there and have some peace and quiet; that you don’t find from Hanoi. I think my life has started to settle down in here but I still don’t know so much vietnamese, very hard language:)
Cable car ride in Dalat was a bit scary but beautiful sights.
I have one more week in emergency department and after that I change to the ICU, which is not so hectic and there is more basic care. I have visited there two times. About one week and I have again four days holiday so I travel to Phu Quoc, can’t wait the beach and sunbathing!
Beautiful Dalat by day and beautiful Hanoi in sunset
Write you later,
I have now been practising in Hanoi for one month and the time here has past very fast! Maybe it’s because here is a lot of new and different things to explore and experience. I’m supposed to live here for three months and this first month I was practising in a postoperative department in Hanoi Medical University hospital and tomorrow i start in the critical care unit of Bach Mai hospital.
Some injection and wound care equipment in the trolley
I have practical training from monday to friday from morning till noon. Typical day for a nursing student here in Hanoi is that hospital practise is in the morning and lectures from 13:30 till afternoon. Practise hours are not so long as in Finland but i have had chance to do many practical things during that time, which I’m very happy about!
Patients medications and medical liquids in an own box
Nursing studies last 4,5 years in Vietnam and students have a lot more practical training here because they go to the hospital for a practise already in the first year and the days are like I mentioned. Students don’t have so much theory lessons and sometimes teachers have to cancel because they have to be in a hospital performing a surgery. Almost every teacher is also a doctor. Doctors also teach nursing students in the practice because nurses don’t have time for students from their work. My supervisor at the practise is a third year nursing student but I think she has many practical skills she can teach me very well.
Working culture in Vietnam is very hierarchical and students have to listen very carefully what the nurse and the doctor says. Vietnamese working style is fast and nurses don’t do any basic care because that is nurse assistants or family members job to do. Everyone has a certain role.
Beach in Da Nang
In my spare time I have got to know of Hanoi and been travelling to Da Nang and Hoi An. I have planned to travel in Vietnam as much as possible. Hanoi is a very busy 7 million peoples city, traffic is a chaos because almost everyone has some private transportation and scooters are popular. In the traffic you have to be very careful because many people don’t follow the rules. When you want to cross the road, you just walk and don’t stop.
Traffic in Hanoi
Water puppet theater in Hanoi Old Square
Street food take away in a bag
I think I tell you more next time and I try to tell you the main things but it’s impossible to tell everything because there is so many things you just have to experience yourself so you will understand the lifestyle of Hanoi! 😉
I´m making my internship in Hanoi, Vietnam. Three months of living in this amazing city. Here is some of my top moments here till now.
I arrived in Hanoi in the start of March and the weather was quite cloudy and rainy. Here you can see the Hoan Kiem Lake. It is such an beautiful and relaxing place in the heart of busy Hanoi. At the Hoan Kiem you can visit a small temple, see people practicing tai chi or married couples taking pictures.
My work colleagues took me out to eat lunch. The food was good but the fish sauce where you should dip slices of food wasn´t that pleasant experience. Small plastic chairs and tables are seen in every street restaurant.
Part of my job is to sell trips so I got an opportunity visit some of those trips. This is a picture from Mai Chau which is a small village on the country side, 3 hours from Hanoi. Mai Chau is green, peacefull village surrounded mountains and rice paddies. Northern Vietnam is quite untouchable from tourism so in the country side you can experience the local life as it´s best.
And just for the comparison picture of the central square of Hanoi.
Greetings from a whole different world!
I’ve now been over 3 months in Vietnam. I’m doing my practical training period here at the mobile phone factory. I’m being a part of the service team which consists many engineers from many countries. I feel very lucky to have this opportunity, since normally it is really hard to see some factory like that because of all the corporational secrets.
This trip has grown me not only as a student, but as a person too. The factory is so multicultural and sharing ideas with other people has made me realize many new things from my country and myself.
Working aside, I’ve loved my stay here in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Of course Vietnam is a developing country and life here is pretty rough, but once you get used to it and learn more about the culture, you’re going to love it. There are so many things that you cannot see by visiting a short time, you have to live here to understand. And of course for a finnish guy, 30 degrees in december is something to enjoy from…
All the natural beauty of Vietnam is something that you won’t see anywhere else. Especially Halong Bay, which is one of the UNESCO natural heritage sites.
Only two weeks remain until it’s time to come home. Then I’ll be one life changing experience richer.
xin chào!! /Hello!!
I have been living in Vietnam almost three moths now, and I just love this country and these people here! I live in Hanoi which is the capital city of Vietnam. Traffic here is insane!! But after two weeks living here I learned how to drive a motorbike and now i founded that it is easier to drive a motorbike here than walk.
Vietnamese people are very kind and helpful population. Vietnam is still quite untouched tourist destination so Vietnamese people like to teach Vietnamese to tourist and learn English at the same time. If you go to have a walk near Hoam Kiem lake it´s very usual that some Vietnamese come and ask, can they show the city for you and maybe they can learn English at the same time from you.
I have been working in the hostel called Vietnambackpacker hostel. So I´m having my internship here. I like my work here because it is very relaxed and good way to get know lots of new people. I heard so many amazing stories about where everyone have been during their travels , and after my internship I will follow those stories and travel by myself around Asia. 🙂
I spent three months in my home country Vietnam. This is my first time spending a lot of time in Vietnam and I did practical training there, which is very exciting and interesting . I heard a lot from my cousins how is going to working in Vietnam environment, they just said about the negatives things about it, so it makes me more curious.
My tasks is to contact customer, making contract, maintenance databases….
This is my practical training placement. The company is supplying the granite stone to the luxury villas. It looks like a house. The office locate in the third floor, the first and the second floor is a granite stone showroom.
This is granite stone
This is inside the company
+ Bonus 🙂
OH MY GOD !!!!!