--> Openlink Vol 24 Issue 1 (March 2015)<!--OUHK — producing trusted nursing professionals--> | The Open University of Hong Kong
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  •  Openlink Vol 24 Issue 1 (March 2015)
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    President's Message
    Cover Story
    OUHK — producing trusted nursing professionals
    People
    Expert external examiners ensure academic quality
    Vice President Prof. Lee Wing-on shares his new-century management philosophy
    2014 graduates share their experiences
    New academic staff
    New Head of Student Affairs:
    Strengthening support to help students thrive and shine
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    Visit by delegation of Singapore education officials
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    Closing-of-the-Year Luncheon Partyvideo
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    Stronger ties with Shaoguan University
    Training for Shanghai Open University
    Shanghai postgraduate education exhibition
    Mainland students attend residential school and graduation ceremony
    Academic Activities and Alliances
    Visit from Indonesian nursing counterparts
    Joint Conference of Putonghua Education and Assessment Centres of Hong Kong Post-Secondary Institutions
    Student Support and Activities
    Student Achievements
    Student work gains special mention in short film competition
    Alumni Affairs
    Talk on RMB market by finance guruvideo
    Narcissus floral workshop
    Musical directed by OUHK alumnus
    Alumni talent show to celebrate New Year
    Programmes and Courses
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    OUHK - producing trusted nursing professionals

    Over the last two decades, the OUHK has been striving to enhance standards in the local nursing profession and to nurture school leavers to become new talent in the field of health care. The University has produced more than 5,880 nursing graduates over the years, making a remarkable contribution to society.

    The OUHK currently offers a range of nursing and health studies programmes through both distance learning and face-to-face modes at diploma, higher diploma, degree and honours degree level. These provide plenty of learning opportunities for both working nurses and those who wish to join the profession. The opening of Jubilee College in early 2014 has further expanded our student places and teaching facilities, and the inclusion of our nursing programmes in the Education Bureau’s newly launched Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions (SSSDP) demonstrates the Government’s recognition of our professional quality.

    Innovative programmes meet societal needs

    In the words of Prof. Joseph Lee, Head of the Division of Nursing and Health Studies (DNHS), ‘Our mission is to contribute to the Hong Kong community by setting a standard for quality health care education; and in response to the needs of the community, our programmes have become increasingly diversified.’ The OUHK’s first nursing programme launched in 1994, and Prof. Lee believes that over these two decades, our flexibility and responsiveness in coping with the constantly changing demands of society have been the University’s greatest assets.

    In its early years, the OUHK began offering distance learning nursing programmes to provide registered and enrolled nurses with ongoing learning opportunities. In response to the continuing shortage of nurses the University took a step further and started offering full-time programmes in 2005, enabling school leavers to enter the field. In addition to general nursing programmes, the OUHK also offers a specialization in mental health nursing, the first of its kind in Hong Kong, which aims to meet a significant demand in society.

    In view of the increasing burden of the health care system coupled with the aging population problem in recent years, the OUHK launched its first Diploma in Health Studies (Community Health Care) programme in 2012 to train health care workers for the community. This was followed by Hong Kong’s first free community health care volunteer training programme just last year which aimed to strengthen community health care through voluntary service.

    The study of Chinese medicinal nursing is a third area of innovation. As DNHS Associate Head Dr Linda Lee explained, ‘Chinese medical treatment remains popular in Hong Kong. There are practicing Chinese medical doctors but nursing professional is still lacking. The upcoming master’s programme in Chinese medicinal nursing, the first of its kind in our city, is designed to meet this need.’

    Expert teaching staff and advanced facilities

    Under the umbrella of the School of Science and Technology, the nursing team has been recruiting professionals with a range of expertise to enhance the quality of teaching. ‘Given the unique nature of the nursing curriculum, the team was upgraded to become a more autonomous academic department in April last year and was renamed the DNHS to support its continuing development,’ said Prof. Joseph Lee. Dr Linda Lee supplemented that the percentage of teaching staff who hold a doctoral degree is set to gradually increase from 20% to 50% in the next few years, further consolidating the expertise of the team. Specialized programmes are delivered to high academic standards due to the expertise, experience and personal network of the professional teaching staff: ‘The upcoming master’s programme in Chinese medicinal nursing will be led by two staff members who are both registered Chinese medicine practitioners and registered nurses,’ she explained.

    With the opening of Jubilee College, the OUHK’s nursing teaching facilities expanded by 250% and received state-of-the-art equipment. The new facilities incorporate the educational elements needed to deliver quality instruction in nursing skills, clinical simulation, Chinese medicinal nursing and virtual reality education.

    Bright career prospects for students

    Professional nursing programmes cost more than other general programmes. Dr Lee said, ‘Our teaching quality and facilities are comparable to those of the funded universities but our tuition fees are just over half of the cost.’ This year, the new SSSDP will subsidize each awarded student up to a maximum of $70,000 per year to pursue designated full-time self-financing undergraduate programmes. ‘Among the 960 total available places spread across 13 programmes in five self-financed higher education institutions, 220 places have been earmarked to support students from OUHK nursing programmes. This demonstrates the Government’s recognition of our efforts,’ Dr Lee explained. ‘The industry view of our students is consistently good and the graduate employment rate is 100%.’

    OUHK Nursing develops across generations

    The OUHK first offered the Bachelor of Nursing (Honours) distance learning programme in 1994, providing working registered nurses with the opportunity to pursue a degree for career advancement. With 13 years of working experience in nursing, Mr Yue Yan-sang decided to enroll in the programme. He graduated in 2002 and is now a Nursing Officer.

    ‘What the programme taught was far more in depth than what I had learned in the past,’ said Yan-sang. ‘It enabled me to think from different perspectives. I learned to care about the feelings of patients and their families, and to communicate well with my co-workers.’ He was particularly impressed by the course ‘Nursing Project’ in which he carried out a comprehensive study on mattresses and bedsores through detailed data collection and analysis. ‘Our work attaches great importance to evidence-based nursing, and therefore continuing education is essential,’ he said.

    Ten years ago Yan-sang’s nephew, Dominic Liu, a secondary school graduate at the time, expressed an interest in nursing. Yan-sang stepped in to give his nephew advice. ‘My uncle painted a detailed picture of the profession and broke down some preconceived ideas I had. I began to see it as a good career path,’ said Dominic. In 2005 he enrolled in the OUHK’s full-time Bachelor of Nursing with Honours in Mental Health Care programme, the only such programme in Hong Kong at that time.

    Many people have misconceptions about mental illness. With the knowledge he gained from the programme, Dominic is able to reassure patients from a scientific perspective. Dominic joined a hospital psychiatric ward after graduating in 2009 and concluded that professional nursing is all about people — establishing a good relationship with patients, their families and the medical teams. Dominic is currently Chairman of the OUHK Nursing Alumni Association and is a voluntary Community Health Care Ambassador, assisting the University in training health care volunteers.

    From distance learning to full-time study, and general health to mental health care, two generations have witnessed the development of the OUHK’s nursing
    programmes, and now give back to the community what they learned from their alma mater.

    A nursing intern with passion and a warm heart

    Christine Ng, Year 3 student on the full-time Bachelor of Nursing with Honours in General Health Care programme, thought that good organizational skills for managing a ward would be the most important skill for a nurse. But upon starting the practicum this year, she found that nurses need to be multi-skilled, with good communication skills and the ability to respond flexibly.

    Christine believes that a nursing intern should be well versed in the skills taught in classroom as they can all be applied in the context of the ward. ‘I go over my notes before entering the ward. Otherwise, patients will suffer from our mistakes,’ she said.

    Christine has learned that every patient has individual needs. For example, an elderly patient who felt nervous every time he had his blood pressure taken became much more comfortable after the procedure was explained to him. ‘Just a word can make a big difference. In addition to giving clinical service to patients, I hope to soothe their soul a little as well.’

    Last year, Christine became Chairperson of the OUHK Student Nursing Society. She is truly passionate about the subject. ‘I really feel tired sometimes but whenever I enter the ward, I am immediately refreshed.’ She was once reprimanded by a senior colleague but maintains a positive attitude: ‘I know my colleague corrected me so that I won’t make the same mistake again.’ Christine always shares her enthusiasm with a smile. ‘I’m so glad that I can do what I really want to and at the same time help others.’

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