The Tweed-DaNang Clinical Services Project


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The Tweed-DaNang Clinical Services Project is a joint venture of the Học Mãi Foundation, The Tweed Hospital and DaNang Hospital, VietNam.

Clinical Symposium - DaNang, April 2010

The next visit by Tweed clinicians to DaNang is planned for April 10, 2010. This will again be multidisciplinary "team" initiative focussed on clinical skill development in surgery, anaesthesia and nursing practice.

2009 Tweed Hoc Mai Fellows

The DaNang Hoc Mai Fellows for '09 have arrived in Tweed! Joined at a welcome reception by Denise Harris, Acting DON TTH, left, and Deb Podbury, GM Tweed/Byron Network, they are from left, Assistant Director of Nursing, Mr Tran Thanh Liem, Anaesthetist and Director Surgical ICU, Dr Le Trong Binh, and Clinical Pharmacist, Ms Tran Cao Thuy Ha Lan.

They have come with specific objectives for their time as Clinical Observers in Tweed and each has great hopes for the realisation of change within their own work environment on their return to DaNang.

Liem's particular focus will be on issues relating to perioperative infection control, as well as the broader area of nursing management. Dr Binh, as an anaesthetist and first Senior Visiting Fellow, while observing his colleagues in Tweed hopes to gain some insight into current trends in postoperative pain managent as well as anaesthesia for a range of surgical procedures. Lan will be working to explore the practical application of clinical pharmacy - a fledgling discipline in Vietnam. She will also be spending time at Griffith University School of Pharmacy.

2009 Fellows Reports


BA.RN. Tran Thanh Liem
AusAID Fellow
DaNang Hospital

I have had the honour of being a fellow of Học Mãi - the Australia Viêt Nam Medical Foundation. I now have great hope for the realization of change in my own work environment after being in Tweed Hospital for 3 months as a clinical observer.

Out of what I have mentioned in my changing project, I am really impressed by what I have seen. Here the patients are warmly welcomed and engaged in close conversation with doctors and nurses. For each case of operation, the procedure is explained to the patients in a very clear and friendly way by the anesthetists, surgeons and nurses. They are willing to say “sorry” during their procedures when concern is seen on patients’ faces or pain is caused, and “thank you” to patients after doing the procedure. They encourage the patients all time.

Even more interestingly, mothers are permitted to come inside the operating room with their children when he or she is having an operation. Mother and child are able to stay together until the child is completely unconscious. This is not only to reassure the mothers but also to help the child to not be nervous of the medicines being used.

Another deep impression I have gained is that a husband is able to talk, caress or even kiss his wife and their newborn baby, while behind the protective curtain, the obstetricians and nurses are implementing surgical procedures. The picture of a small happy family with a new member in the operation room seems to make perioperative practitioners feel more pleased with their duty.

Even if the culture and working environment are different I hope to see more and more smiles, friendly eyes and happy families daily, in my working place, by adopting some of these practices.

I am thankful for the support of Học Mãi - the Australia Viêt Nam Medical Foundation and I was also lucky to have a very good supervisor, Dr Ian MacPhee. He supported me in many ways when I was in Tweed Hospital. The three months in Tweed Hospital has been an interesting chance to learn about the healthcare, and especially the nursing system, in Australia.

Ms Tran Cao Thuy Ha Lan with Mentor at Tweed Heads Hospital

Ms Tran Cao Thuy Ha Lan
AusAID Fellow
DaNang University

I have taken part as a Clinical Pharmacist Observer as part of the AusAID /Học Mãi Foundation Fellowships at the Pharmacy Department of Tweed Hospital.. The main objectives of this study program was to observe and find out the most active teaching method for pharmaceutical students on clinical pharmacy subjects, and how to get clinical pharmacists’ approval by other members in the health care team.

Firstly, I have been deeply impressed that although The Tweed Hospital is the major acute care provider and referral facility with 220 beds and various specialties including 24 hour emergency service, only six clinical pharmacists are assigned to check the medication charts of each patient every day. They ensure that the prescriptions are always safe, effective and that each patient takes their medications properly as well. Whenever there was problem with a prescription, the pharmacist gently left a message under the medical chart or called to the doctor directly to see if they could meet each other to discuss the situation. This discussion quickly enabled consent of both parties for the best effective therapy for the patients. Moreover, the pharmacist usually organised information for the patient, their family and nursing staff about using the medication. This process was not simple at all, but the pharmacists completed these tasks with a smile on their face. I thought that it made patients feel a lot better. It has helped me appreciate the importance of effective communication skills for clinical pharmacists with the other health care staff and patients.

The Tweed Hospital also provides clinical teaching and experience for medical, nursing, allied health and pharmacy students from Bond and Griffith Universities. It is a good environment to study, because the concept of lifelong learning is saturated into the thinking of each member. The active learning and teaching dynamic applies appropriately. Therefore, the third year pharmaceutical students are able to understand basically how pharmacy hospital works and the main role of clinical pharmacist. I felt deeply that the pharmacist’s offered quality teaching that was patient, careful, precise, honest, kind and generous.

Another very fortunate opportunity I had whilst at The Tweed Hospital was that I had the chance to participate in the sixth annual Pharmacy Women’s Congress. Here, I studied an educational program which focused on both personal and professional development and which reflected the congress theme – “Gaining Knowledge, Sharing Experiences, Building Futures”. It enabled me to realize my position. After graduating from University, I thought I could do everything, but now I understand that each person was individually small and that I should work hard at my job and continue to research my field more deeply.

In all sincerity, I have changed my thoughts and practice in pharmacy so much within three months of training in Australia. Finally, I sincerely thank all pharmacists and technicians for being so helpful and friendly and thankyou so much to Dr. Ian McPhee - my supervisor - who always worried and took care of us while we stayed in Tweed Heads. Especially, I would like to express my honest thanks to AusAID and Học Mãi Foundation for giving me a wonderful chance to open my mind and begin a new period in my life.

Laparoscopic Hernia Repair - DaNang, September 2008

In September '08 the first visit by Tweed clinicians was made to the DaNang Hospital as part of the agreement reached between NCAHS, TTH and the DaNang Hospital to foster support for clinical practice, teaching and research.

During the one week visit, surgeon Dr Laurent Layani, pictured left with Vietnamese colleagues looking on, anaesthetist Dr Ian McPhee and OR Nurse Raynor Cowdroy introduced their Vietnames counterparts to the surgical, anaesthesia and operating room management of patients undergoing laparoscopic hernia repair. More than a dozen procedures were undertaken over four days, with Vietnamese staff assuming a greater role in care over time.

Subsequently, the GI Surgical Department in DaNang has gone on to perform over 50 cases. Their results will soon be presented at a major national surgical meeting by former Tweed Hoc Mai fellow, GI Surgeon Dr Hoang Duong Vuong.