Journals from NUR 398 Health Care in China
2008-01-21 A Visit to a Rural Chinese Hospital
The delivery room door. This room is also used as the OB surgical suite.
We are visiting a variety of health care facilities throughout China. During our visit to Xian City in central China our travels took us through snow and ice to the northern outskirts of the city. We were welcomed at Weiyang District Health Center, a level 1 hospital (lowest on a 1-3 scale) which had recently been changed to a clinic by government decree. The secretary general at the clinic spoke to us about the recent change in this hospital to a preventative medicine focused clinic. (We later learned that the Chinese government assigns a secretary general to every business to insure that government policies are upheld.) The clinics goal is to go door to door to each household in 5 districts (approx. 5,600) and assess the health of each family member and develop a computer database. With Linfield Nursing Schools focus on community health this was especially interesting to nursing students and faculty.
Although this plan seems to be a positive shift in health care for China, staff has yet to be hired to implement the plan. The clinic is still functioning as a hospital/skilled care facility. We saw patients receiving traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) therapies: massage and acupuncture. The clinic also provided inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation for patients recovering from bone fractures. Both TCM and Western medicine are available based on the patients preference.
The highlight of our visit was getting to visit our first maternity ward. We scaled four unheated flights of stairs (no elevators even for women in labor). At the end of the hallway we could see wooden doors leading to the delivery room. We noticed the nurses bustling in their unheated work stations, responding quickly to patient calls. We were invited into a heated six-bed postpartum room and got to visit a mother with her newborn baby lying together on a low cot-like bed. She proudly allowed us to photograph her baby bundled in bright fleece blankets.