Nursing Practicum in Potsdam, Germany

German-Nursing Majors Take Part in Nursing Practicum in Potsdam, Germany

Thursday, February 11, 2010

During the 2010 January Interim, German and Nursing majors Melanie Henry and Michael Swanson completed a four-week course organized by the Brandenburgisches Bildungswerk für Medizin und Soziales e.V. (BBW), the Brandenburg Education Institute for Medicine and Social Work. Both students fully benefited from the BBW's close cooperation with health and social institutions in Berlin and the State of Brandenburg.

Melanie Henry, who was in Germany for the first time, spoke enthusiastically about the program, "Very important changes in regard to health care are about to happen in the United States. It is all the more interesting to examine the experiences of other countries." Michael Swanson added, "Hopefully, I will be back in Germany next year in order to work in Landstuhl, at the US-Army Hospital there. Potsdam is an excellent preparation for that."

The students' schedule included:

  • Classes and a tour of a rural health care facility in Belzig, including emergency services
  • Visit and exchange of ideas at various BBW health care/nursing teaching facilities
  • Visit and tour of the municipal Ernst von Bergmann Hospital in Potsdam and the Neuruppin hospital
  • Familiarization with the different forms of assisted living in Germany
  • Introduction to the Support Center for hearing and language impaired children (in Potsdam-Schlaatz) with course visits within the framework of full-time care (including German sign language)
  • Visiting the Berlin Accident Trauma Center, including the specialized Hospital for Emergency Medicine and Care at the highest level
  • A focus study of a senior citizen care facility in Berlin, including a discussion about the system of senior care and assistance
  • Study of an integrative day care
Michael Swanson and Melanie Henry in Potsdam

Christoph Ritscher (Brandenburg School for Medical and Social Work; BBW), Michael Swanson, Mädy Ramelow (BBW)

Jann Jakobs (Lord Mayor), Melanie Henry, Wolfram Gay (Potsdam Housing Association), Antje Schneider (Potsdam Assisted Living Association)

A special experience for the two students included work in the Potsdam Soup Kitchen on January 22, when Melanie and Michael assisted the kitchen's staff. Melanie and Michael also participated in a cultural program that familiarized them with the city of Potsdam, including a visit the Sanssouci Palace.

Professor Pamela Schroeder, who was in charge of the students' program, praised the varied program. "It is important for our students to get practical experience. The sister-cities relationship between Potsdam and Sioux Falls was a good opportunity to have a course in Germany." Jann Jakobs (Lord Mayor of Potsdam) welcomed the students and their professor within the context of a press conference in Potsdam's French Quarter. Michael and Melanie were housed in a guest apartment of the Potsdam Apartment Association 1956 in that part of the city. The contact with the Apartment Association was made by Mädy Ramelow and Christoph Ritscher of the BBW. "After all, we are neighbors in Zeppelin Street," and Wolfram Gay adds, "We are very happy to contribute in this way to the sister-cities relationship between Potsdam and Sioux Falls."