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Charles Sturt University students in Thailand last year with local staff and dignitaries. Photo: CSU

Nursing students to gain skills in Thailand, lend a hand

Australian nursing students will travel to Thailand to learn how local health professionals and community members approach the issues they encounter, while also delivering much-needed eye glasses for locals.

The Charles Sturt University (CSU) students will travel to villages in the Wat Jan region in northern Thailand and visit the nursing faculty at Chiang Mai University. They plan to deliver primary healthcare and assessment of patients, and participate in health promotion and education activities.

CSU nursing lecturer Cathy Maginnis said: "The students will learn to communicate in different ways and to build upon their critical thinking and reflective skills, as well as delivering culturally appropriate care.

"These skills will enhance their confidence and they will be able to incorporate them into their future practice, delivering culturally appropriate care in our Australian multicultural communities.”

Last year, the team that visited identified eye care as one of the immediate and far-reaching aspects of healthcare that they could contribute to in a meaningful way. As a result, the nine bachelor of nursing students and their lecturer are seeking donations of reading glasses and sunglasses. Maginnis said the glasses can make a big difference to the lives of people in the poorest area of northern Thailand.

"All villagers work in the fields in the harsh glare of the sunlight for long hours every day," she explained. "Many of the women sew intricate detail on clothing and items to sell and often this is done in the poor evening light. Donating reading and sunglasses can provide an immense and immediate benefit."

Glasses will be accepted until next Monday, June 13. They can be donated through OPSM in Dubbo, dropped in to CSU in Dubbo or posted to Cathy Maginnis, Locked Bag 49, Dubbo, NSW 2830.

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