On Tuesday Victoria and Ciera spent the day at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital (RACH). They posed for a traditional photo with Spidey Dolphin at the entrance
to RACH and are shown here with him. Victoria spent time in the assessment unit and in the emergency department and Ciera was in the day case unit and the operating theatre.
Victoria was approached by a nurse in the canteen at lunch time who recognized the HBU scrubs, as she had been on the exchange in a previous year. On Tuesday evening Ciera,
Victoria and Megan went for dinner and cosmic ten pin bowling at the Sunset Boulevard amusement centre.
On Wednesday Ciera and Victoria went to Royal Cornhill Hospital (RCH) to look at mental health services. In the morning they both visited the Forensic Acute
ward and joined in a teaching session with medical students where a man who had previously been a patient there presented his story of illness and recovery.
In the afternoon Victoria visited a dementia unit where one of the RGU students of mental health nursing gave her a full report on all the patients. Ciera visited a functioning older adult
ward, which cares for people over 65 years old, with mental illness other than dementia. Unfortunately for Ciera most of the patients wanted a nap just after she arrived!
In the evening all four students were taken for dinner by Ian and Marlene McLeod from the GHA to the Deeside Golf Club and were also joined by Bill and Christine Neish from GHA.
Marlene said, "The girls were all bursting with enthusiasm and excited about the whole experience. They were a breath of fresh air and will be excellent ambassadors for GHA /RGU and
On Thursday Victoria spent the day at the Emergency Department (ED) and Ciera in the Acute Medical Initial Assessment Unit (AMIA) at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
Both areas started off a little slow but soon became extremely busy, in fact so busy in AMIA that Ciera was left feeling guilty that she was only able to observe and not help out.
When they finished there the Aberdeen weather was typical fog and rain so Jackie, Victoria and Ciera went to the Winter Gardens in the Duthie Park. (You can see Victoria above right
in the fog.) The Winter Gardens have many rare and exotic plants and boasts one of the largest British collections of cacti. Ciera took a lot of beautiful photos, nearly of every plant and
both felt like they were in Texas in the hot, humid tropical house. Friday was spent in the ITU (intensive care unit) and the students indicated that they enjoyed each clinical day and
said the staff were phenomenal.
On the weekend
all four students went to Edinburgh. Upon their arrival, they went to the Edinburgh Castle and upon seeing it, Victoria noted, " (WOW! it was stunning.)" She said she marveled at the sites and the architecture all
around the city. They are shown to the left on the Royal Mile. They took a bus tour to see all the views and hear the history along with it. The bus was a practical way to see the city, considering that the rain was heavy on and off.
Victoria said that they tasted "haggis fried patties with a type of whiskey sauce and surprisingly I didn't cringe... It was alright!"
Saturday evening they had reservations for an
Italian restaurant and then walked to a Celildh where there was traditional Scottish dancing and they taught the crowd step by step. The band had accordions, fiddles, and surprisingly
Ciera and Victoria knew some of the songs.
Sunday they went to the Edinburgh Dungeons, thinking it would be history-based and a tour of real tunnels/dungeons. Instead it seemed to
be a haunted storyline and acting in which they tried to scare tourists the whole time! Lastly, they went to The Dome for Afternoon High Tea, finding it to be a beautiful venue.
A special treat for the students took place on Wednesday of the second week when they got to meet and have coffee with the Lord Provost at the Town House in
Aberdeen, shown to the left. The Lord Provost has been very active with GHA and HGA and has graciously spent time with our students whenever they are in Aberdeen. Following their meeting with him
they went across town to the headquarters of Aberdeenshire Council where they were entertained to lunch by Provost Hamish Vernal who is in the middle of the picture to the right.
Also shown below is a photo of the company who attended the Grampian-Houston Association dinner at the Norwood Hall Hotel, Aberdeen at which Brett Jackson, GHA
Chairman, presented Ciera and Victoria with inscribed quaiches as a souvenir of their visit to Grampian. You will notice an historic Texas flag, which is one of 10 flags used during the
history of Texas and
presented to Prince Charles when he visited Texas in 1986. The Prince gave them on loan
to the Grampian-Houston Association and they are displayed at Woodhill House, headquarters of the former Grampian Regional Council and now Aberdeenshire Council's HQ.
The photos were provided by Bill Neish, who is steadfastly
active as a participant in GHA/HGA activities and who keeps us enlightened throught each year on the Grampian Houston activities.
Ruth and Megan then experienced a unique beginning to their visit to Houston Baptist University as they arrived in Houston on Saturday night just in time to watch the HBU Huskies win their football game. In her article about their visit, Ruth said that "The atmosphere was incredible!" On Sunday they attended a beautiful service at Victoria's church which remembered those lost in 9/11. Then it was on to a cook off at another church with competition to see who could make the best chili, which in Texas is a basic food, and the Scots were most pleased with it. With the day only half over, they then went to visit NASA followed by dinner to try their first Texas barbecue.
On Monday morning they were welcomed to HBU by the Dean of Nursing, Dr. Schumann, and then got a "Husky" (the school mascot) tour of the campus, learning about the school's history and the people who made HBU what it is today. They are shown to the left ready to begin their tour. Their studies then began with a pharmacology class, after which they went to Houston's famous Galleria for shopping and dinner.
Tuesday, the students had a communities class which discussed the history of nursing and how that helped to shape public nursing today. They were also able to visit the Houston City Council, where they met Council member Mike Laster and the Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner in the city's beautiful city hall. To the right, they are seen standing on the steps of the entry to City Hall. For a taste of Houston sports, they went to see the Houston Astros vs Texas Rangers baseball game. More classes on Wednesday, including health assessment, mental health and obstetrics, all of which may prove useful in their future careers. A visit to China Town in the evening included a dinner of sushi and shaved ice.
Mid-week, there was a visit to the Houston zoo with Sue Schneider and then on to a
Sugar Land Skeeters baseball game that evening. Friday, Quin McWhirter hosted a tour of CHI St. Luke's Hospital, an annual event that the students really enjoyed. This year's tour included a longer-than-usual visit to the surgical observation dome to watch open heart surgery. The patient was a 27 year old man with heart failure and the surgical procedure consisted of installing a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) to enable his heart to work until a heart transplant can be done when it is available. The tour also included a tour of the Emergency Room and a visit to
The Terrace, the special hospital suites where kings and presidents stay when they come to Houston for medical care. Although you will not be told who might be staying on this floor, it is known to be the place that celebrities frequently stay.
Next was a trip to Texas A&M University in College Station and then on to the Washington county fair in Brenham to watch country singer Aaron Watson. The Scots wore their cowboy boots and felt like proper Texans! On Saturday they were taken to Austin to see the Texas State Capitol building. It was interesting for them to learn that the Capitol building was built from Scottish stone and was built by laborers which included many Scots; another link between our sister cities. Sunday included a brunch in the morning and a meet and greet dinner in the evening at HGA board member Ross and Anne Davidson's house.
Monday of week #2 began with a tour of Texas Children's hospital and there, the students visited the NICU, PICU, cardiovascular, renal and neurology units. They enjoyed the opportunity to see the pediatric side of nursing and the challenges that it presents.
On Tuesday, Ruth and Megan gave a talk to a pre-nursing freshman class to tell them about the exchange and nursing studies. They then headed to the Natural Science Museum where thet visited the butterfly sanctuary and various exhibits. They spent the afternoon with the Director of Nursing at the Southwest Memorial Hermann hospital and got a tour of the facilities. They then gave a presentation to the nursing student association at HBU about the exchange and the things they have learned.
2015 Student Nurses Exchange
And so we begin our second 20 years of HGA's student nurse exchange program with our 2015 student
nurses from HBU and with a new nurse exchange program coordinator for Houston Grampian. The Houston Baptist University student nurses named
for this year's program are Blake Martin and Lorena Lozano, and our new Nurse Exchange Program Coordinator is Liz Walton who
is succeeding Carol Decker in that position.
The group shown in the photos gathered in the Green Room of the Morris Cultural Arts Center at
Houston Baptist University. From left to right in the photo to the left are Dr. Renae Schumann Dean of HBU's School of
Nursing and Allied Health with Mary Metz, Blake Martin, Lorena Lozano and Liz Walton. Mary Metz and Liz Walton are presenting a check
to the students to cover travel and expenses for their visit to Aberdeen.
They departed Houston for Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen for our annual student nurse exchange
visit on May 16, to return to Houston on the 31st, looking forward to meeting their Robert Gordon University counterparts,
Joanne Peters and Rebecca Gardiner in Aberdeen. To the left, Blake and Lorena are shown at Houston Intercontinental Airport
preparing to leave Houston on their first overseas journey, and to the right they are shown with Joanne and Rebecca on a cold Aberdeen evening after dinner
the evening of their arrival. Jackie Leith observed that this was not quite the temperatures Blake and Lorena are used to!
Joanne and Rebecca, will be in Houston September 12 - 27. The Dillon II room at HBU is reserved for
Wednesday, September 23rd, from 6-10 pm for the formal Houston Grampian dinner honoring the four student nurses from Houston
and Aberdeen. We will be looking forward to the joint presentation from them, telling us about their visits to the
two cities and the similarities and differences they experienced in how nursing is practiced. It is fascinating each year
to hear the students compare nursing skills, priorities, techniques and preferences and our members are always enlightened
by their presentation.
Once in Aberdeen, the students toured RGU School of Nursing and Midwifery, and met the staff. There wasn't a photo at door of nursing school
that day, since it was pouring with rain. However, in the school next door there was a Power of Plants exhibition which
was really interesting and the girls got to extract DNA from a strawberry.
That evening included
an event always enjoyed by our student nurses when in Aberdeeen, which was dinner with Marlene and Ian McLeod.
This year certainly met expectations and they are shown here entering the Deeside Golf Club and then inside with the McLeods.
Marlene said that, "As usual . . . they were all delightful girls, and so interesting to chat with.They will all be excellent ambassadors for GHA/HGA,
we felt very proud of them." Today was spent touring RGU and meeting staff.
Kristin Jackson-Brown and Jackie Leith took the four students out for an evening of dining and
entertainment. They had dinner at the Caledonian Thistle Hotel and then went to see "Wicked" at His Majesty's Theatre.
Kristin said that it was lovely to meet Blake and Lorena and commented that they are fantastic young ladies and great
Ambassadors for HBU and HGA. Below are photos of them at the strawberry DNA event plus pics from that enjoyable evening.
Clinicals and classroom activities began and on Tuesday, May 19th, both Blake and Lorena spent the day at
the emergency department at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. On Wednesday, Lorena visited the Intensive care unit at
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Blake spent the day at an acute mental health ward at Royal Cornhill Hospital.
Additional time the next day was spent at the Acute Medical Assessment Unit at ARI and at Royal Aberdeen Children's
The photo to the left was taken with "Spidey", the colorful dolphin at the entrance to RACH. The dolphin is one of many
which were placed all around Aberdeen last year with individual designs, then auctioned to raise money for the children's
hospital charity. Blake and Lorena also had some free time and spent it exploring the centre of Aberdeen near the
apartment where they stayed.
After meeting Spidey the dolphin at RACH, they went real dolphin spotting at Torry Battery the next
day. Torry Battery was a defensive position during various wars and offers great views across Aberdeen bay and harbour.
They scored a great view of 6 dolphins playing together. The photo to the right shows the students dolphin spotting.
The morning of May 22, Lorena and Blake attended a meeting at RGU of the Scottish Interprofessional Education Network
where a talk was given by a co-founder of the Patient Voices Programme, which
was established in 2003 in an attempt to make healthcare safer, more humane, dignified, respectful, patient-centered and
compassionate. This was accomplished through the creation and sharing of personal stories of health and illness, hope and hopelessness, care and
lack of it. Lorena and Blake were asked by the speaker for their opinions on how they felt this related to the U.S.
and they provided responses which were judged to be impressive, confident and informed.
With more historical visits to be made, on Monday Jackie, Lorena and Blake began the day with a tour
of CLAN House, a charity offering emotional and practical support to people affected by cancer. Services are
offered free of charge to all from pre-diagnosis and diagnosis through treatment and beyond at 11 support and wellbeing
centres located across north-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland.
Following their visit to CLAN, they went to the winter gardens at Duthie Park, which has been a "must
see" site for all of our students over the years and is always an enjoyable stop. They were treated to lunch at Woodhill
House with Provost of Aberdeenshire Jill Webster and Councillor Ron McKail, Chair of GHA and then enjoyed a visit to
Balmoral Castle, which has been one of the residences for members of the British Royal Family since 1852, when the
estate and its original castle were purchased privately by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria. They remain as the
private property of the royal family and are not the property of the Crown. Queen Elizabeth arrives there in August each
year for her annual visit. The girls are shown to the leftt at Balmoral, and to the right during a visit to Dunnottar castle, with
Joanne, Rebecca and a piper.
On Tuesday, Blake and Lorena spent time with the Community Nursing Team that work from the Garthdee
Medical Practice. Next, Jackie accompanied them to visit Maggie’s Centre which is another charitable organization
offering practical, emotional and social support to those affected by cancer. They were given a taster session of
mindfulness which is mind-body based training that helps people to change the way they think and feel about their
experiences alleviating stress and promoting mental wellbeing. They also were able to visit the Wood Group PSN
Occupational Health Department and met the Occupational Health Manager, Occupational Health Nurse and the team who deal
with requests and book appointments. They learned about the health surveillance necessary for a range of roles working
both on and off shore and observed activities and equipment at the local clinic facility.
On Wednesday, the four students were interviewed and photographed by the RGU communications
officer to be featured in the RGU bulletin and local press. Then they attended a teaching session at RGU which included
a presentation by the associate head of the school, Dr Karen Strickland, from her doctoral work - A phenomenological, or
"lived experience" of the transition to living with Multiple Sclerosis. Another health-related activity was presented by an RGU
lecturer about her work on "A Nurse-Led Multi-Disciplinary Clinic for People with Parkinson’s Disease".
On the morning of the 28th, Blake and Lorena attended RGU classes with midwifery students learning
about breast feeding techniques in the clinical skills centre. In the afternoon Jackie, Kristin and all four students
were welcomed by the Lord Provost of Aberdeen City, Hon. George Adam, and they were given a tour of the Town House.
The Lord Provost presented the four student nurses with glass candle-holders bearing the city’s motto "Bon Accord".
In the evening, Grampian-Houston Association hosted a delightful formal dinner at which Blake and Lorena were welcomed
by Councillor McKail who presented them with inscribed quaichs as a memento of their visit to Scotland.
The photo above left shows the students with the GHA members and with their RGU hosts. Pictured seated with the four
students in the front row is Councillor Ron McKail, and in the back row are (left to right) Bill Neish, Bob Anderson
(GHA Founder Chairman), Christine Neish, Sandra Anderson, George Duncan, Jackie Leith, Brett Jackson, Kristin Jackson
Brown, Margaret Hadley, Eric Duncan, Barbara Duncan, Ian Gordon, Joan Gordon and Prof. Ian Murray, of RGU.
They are shown in the photo to the right with Kristin Jackson-Brown to the left and Jackie Leith to the right
and the Lord Provost in the center during their visit to the Town House.
In addition to all of the activities shown above, Blake and Lorena also were able to spend some of
their unscheduled time visiting other significant attractions, including the Glengarioch Distillery at Oldmeldrum, the
historic Dunnottar Castle at Stonehaven and a day in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city.
The Press and Journal in Aberdeen posted a nice article on 2 June, about the exchange program and the visit of
Lorena and Blake to RGU. They referred to them as "Two nursing students who swapped Houston for Aberdeen to learn more
about healthcare in Scotland". Quoting Blake, it read, "Miss Martin said the trip had been invaluable, and that she had
been able to make a lot of comparisons between how healthcare is taught in the UK and the US. Both systems work well
though with similar care for patients.” From the RGU side, Rebecca said, “The US is known for having world-leading hospitals
and health care services and I can’t wait to see it for myself.” The article summarized the program and visit, as did this press release and photo in
the news section of the RGU website.
Click RGU News.
As they began completing their time in Aberdeen, on Friday Blake and Lorena visited Transition Extreme which is an
extreme sports center that assists young people to make positive life transitions through sport and education programmes.
Saturday they went to an International Market and a Farmers Market and that evening Jackie and the HBU students went for
dinner in Stonehaven. Following their departure for Houston on Sunday, Jackie noted that, "Blake and Lorena have been wonderful
ambassadors for HBU, it has been an absolute pleasure to spend time with them."
Before we knew it, September was here and it was time for Rebecca and Joanne to arrive in Houston. Sue
Schneider retrieved them at Houston Intercontinental Airport on Saturday, September 12, and the Houston experience began.
They went directly to HBU and moved into the dormitory there for their Houston stay. Sleep was first, and then Sunday
was spent with Blake and Lorena.Here they are just after arriving at IAH.
With a bit of sleep done, as the week began, the students got to meet Houston Grampian Association members on Monday night
at a great pot luck dinner at the home of Anne and Ross Davidson. Ross was our chef and along with Anne, prepared what
most felt was a gourmet meal which came with an abundance of good fellowship and Texas hospitality. It was fun to
exchange culture experiences between the Scots and Texans and to enjoy the amazing food prepared by Anne and Ross.
On campus, Rebecca and Joanne were welcomed in the Cullen Nursing building by Dr. Renae Schumann, Dean of HBU's
School of Nursing and then had a Husky tour, followed by lunch and then a visit to the pharmacology class, which
is designed to assist students in preparing for clinical experiences by applying concepts of assessment, pathophysiology,
pharmacology, diagnostic and laboratory testing analysis, and therapeutic interventions to specific clinical situations.
The course involves didactic and experiential teaching methods and active learning experiences. In addition to preparing
for clinical experiences, the course is designed to promote the development of critical and creative thinking,
problem-solving, and time management skills.
On Tuesday, they studied Nursing in the Community and Nursing the Community, one of four courses for the Baccalaureate
Nursing program that focuses on care of groups, populations, and communities. Students analyze historical trends and
characteristics and factors that have impacted community health nursing and contributed to community health issues.
Students compare and contrast the professional nursing roles in the community and apply theories, models, and principles
to community health nursing practice.
The students were invited to meet and visit with Dr. Robert Sloan, President of HBU and Mrs. Sloan
at their home. The Sloans have always been enthusiastic supporters of our student nursing exchange program and have
regularly participated in our formal dinner honoring the students. All four students are shown here in the
Sloan's home. Following their visit to the Sloan residence they sat in on
an NSA meeting to hear a presentation to HBU students which talked about our Exchange Program. The evening was spent
with the Versace cohort of nursing students.
Back to work, the next day included attening a class about mental health which focues on specialty
care of individuals and their families. In this course, the dimensions of health are assessed in families dealing with
mental health problems. Students apply concepts of care to case management and continuity of care of families with
mental health problem in the home, community, and specialized environments. The afternoon was spent in a VIP tour of
CHI St. Luke's Hospital, beginning with lunch hosted by Briana Resa of St. Luke's Development Department. Below left
are the gathering of our group with the exception of Sue Schneider, who was taking the photo.
The first stop of the tour was in the Emergency Center and a very thorough and interesting presentation
of the ER was made by April Ybarra, who discussed in detail, the operation and responsibility of the ER staff. Her
enthusiasm for her job really set the tone for the students regarding the passion that develops in nurses who are really
"living their dream" in their profession. She talked at length about methodology and prompted quite a few excellent
questions from the students. They are shown to the right with Sue Schneider in the ER.
Following the ER tour, a lengthy and most educational visit was made to the surgical observation dome where
an aortic aneurism surgical repair was being made by one of the leading St. Luke's surgeons. Every year on this tour,
we will experience some firsts and this year was no exception. At the conclusion of the aorta repair, the three doctors
standing across from the surgeon applauded the surgeon for the job that he had done and this was a first. Then, he stepped
away from the patient and turned around and crossed himself, which testified to his faith and brought tears to some of
the eyes watching him. He then returned to the patient to close and clean up, after having provide a very memorable
experience for us.
Our plan was to next visit the Cardiac Inensive Care Unit to learn about the very specialized forms of
treatment provided cardiac patients there. This unit is known to be a cutting-edge facility, particularly the process
they have developed of lowering body temperature to prevent heart attack. Our students were looking forward to seeing a
demonstration of the machine used for this process, but unfortunately, the unit was too busy to accommodate our tour. Our
next stop was was in The Terrace, an upscale and very modern floor of hospital suites, each complete with the patient's
room and a bathroom, plus a separate comfortable section for family members to stay overnight with the patient. Although
you are never told who might be staying on this floor, it is known to be the place that celebrities frequently stay.
Below are shown the tour group in the St. Luke's lobby, also the students having lunch and a photo of them observing
The final visit on the tour was to the heart museum in the Denton Cooley Building of the Texas Heart
Institute at St. Luke's. The museum covers the development of all key supporting services at THI, and demonstrates the
advances in technology achieved over the years. Visitors have access to a video perspective on the Institute as well as
interactive computers for more information on the items displayed. Multimedia displays also include an inside look at
the anatomy of the heart and the sounds of heartbeats. Many of Dr. Denton A. Cooley's personal mementos and awards are
shown as well. To gain
insight into open heart surgery and the accomplishments of the St. Luke's heart surgeons, please
click Open Heart Surgery to see the history of the
development of coronary bypass surgery, heart transplantation and artificial heart implantation. You will see in the video that Dr. Cooley
was the first surgeon
in the world to perform a heart transplant and his history is documented in the video.
Clinicals played a key role in the students' visit to Houston and included Pediatrics at Texas Children's Hospital, plus
clinicals at St. Luke's and Memorial Hermann Hospitals. With nurses focused on physical activities, the students got to
attend a number of sporting events, including soccer, volleyball and football at HBU, Skeeters baseball and a trip to
College Station, Texas to watch the Texas A&M Aggies football game in a sold-out stadium with over 100,000 people present.
To the right, you can see them in the packed venue, listening to the Aggies holler and watching the team play.
A special sporting outing included going to the Pasadena Rodeo and seeing the events in which Texas cowboys compete
doing things like calf roping, bull riding and other work chores that are done routinely on Texas ranches.The girls are
shown to the left in their newly-acquired cowboy boots, a necessity for attending the rodeo, and Joanne is shown trying
on a cute cowboy hat.
An outing that was both educational and fun included visits to the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center and
then to the beach in Galveston on the same day. NASA was so interesting that the time there dominated the day and by
the time they got to the beach in Galveston, it was already night. As you can see in the photo below, they still enjoyed
their visit to the beach.
Perhaps the most unique activity during the visit to Houston was the students' visit to
Life Flight, which is a critical care air medical transport service
They serve the community within a 150-mile radius of the Texas Medical Center with helicopters, and worldwide using
fixed-wing transport. Provided as a community service by Memorial Hermann, Life Flight operates as a hospital-based,
non-profit organization and relies on community support and fundraising efforts to pay for the service. It costs about
$3 million annually to support the program, none of which comes from tax dollars.
Crews perform more than 3,000 missions each year, making the John S. Dunn Helistop one of the busiest
helipads in the world. Since its inaugural flight in 1976, Memorial Hermann Life Flight has flown more than 140,000 missions.
The Life Flight staff staff consists of 21 pilots, 21 flight nurses, 18 paramedics/dispatchers and eight mechanics.
Each helicopter is inspected and serviced daily. The students are shown below learning about Life Flight.
To conclude this student visit to Houston and the beginning of the 21st year of the exchange program,
a formal dinner was held at HBU to honor our four students and to hear presentations from them about their visits to
Aberdeen and Houston respectively. After welcoming attendees, our Chairman Mary Metz, MBE introduced Dr. Robert Sloan, president
of Houston Baptist University, to extend greetings on behalf of HBU and to congratulate all who partipated in the program.
Following his remarks, a blessing was offered by James McLennan, Senior Vice President of Wood Mackenzie.
A very scrumptious dinner was then enjoyed, after which Chairman Metz introduced honored guests to
our banquet event. And then, the highlight of the evening as Mrs. Metz introduced the four student nurses to make their
presentations analyzing their exchange visits, noting the similarities of how nursing is conducted in the UK and Houston
and the many differences as well. The students made perhaps the best series of presentations that we have heard from
students over the years who have participated in the exchange. In addition to thanking HGA and their respective schools,
they made it clear that they had become lifelong friends and that their take from the visits far exceeded their
Upon the conclusion of their presentation, the Honorable Mike Laster, Houston City Councilman, made
remarks on behalf of the City of Houston and presented a proclamation to the students from the Mayor and Council of
the City, and the presentation is shown to the left. His presentation was followed by remarks from the Honorable Karen Bell, Her Majesty's Consul General in Houston, who has
just begun this assignment and who we were honored to meet for the first time. Shown to the right, her remarks provided an appropriate
close to an enjoyable evening and a very successful 2015 student exchange.
Mary Metz dismissed the gathering with thanks from the Houston Grampian Association and good wishes
to our members and to our Sister City organization in Aberdeen, Grampian Houston Association.
Below are more photos of our students, HBU faculty and other dignitaries who participated in the
exchange visit this year, beginning with a photo of the students with Renae Schumann, PhD,RN, Dean of the School of
Nursing and Allied Health. Also shown are the students with Her Majesty's Consul General, Karen Bell plus the group
with Sue Schneider, Mary Metz and Liz Walton, followed by two rodeo photos.
2014 Student Nurses Exchange
In anticipation of this very special year of our signature program, the student nurse exchange began taking shape
with the naming of students for Houston Baptist University and Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. From Houston, Isha Patel and
Melanie Honeycutt were chosen to represent HBU and HGA in the program and Sally-Anne McWilliam and Fiona Mutch were selected from
RGU in Aberdeen. As the schedule developed, our HBU students scheduled their exchange visit to begin May 17 and last until June 1.
Our RGU visitors were scheduled to be in Houston from September 14 through 27, with a dinner honoring all
at HBU on September 24, at which time each student makes a presentation to discuss similarities and differences between nursing in
Aberdeen and in Houston. Joining us this year was a delegation of Grampian Houston members from Aberdeen, and they were able to
participate in several of the events with us.
We'd like to take a moment to tell you more about one of the students chosen at RGU. Most often, students are
young, college-age men and women, but occasionally, there is a student with a special story. Thanks to our friend, Bill Neish from
Grampian-Houston, we've learned amazing information about Sally-Anne McWilliam which was featured in local newspapers from
Aberdeenshire. She has an interesting background and asBill says, "You don't have to be young to be a student nurse." Sally-Anne is in
her early 50s.
She earned a law degree at North London University
and a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development qualification at RGU, before working as a human resources adviser with Aberdeen
City Council for nearly 13 years. After nursing her late husband who died of cancer, she decided to give up her career in HR and
train as a nurse. She enrolled as a student nurse at RGU in September, 2012. She and Neil are shown in the photo above to the right at a
very happy time.
This year's student nurse exchange program was once again launched in the Green Room of the Morris Cultural Arts
Center at Houston Baptist University. Houston Grampian Association members, Chairman Mary Metz, Student Nurse Program Coordinator
Carol Decker and HGA Vice president Quin McWhirter were present to meet HBU student nurses Isha Patel and Melanie Honeycutt and to
present airline tickets plus expense money to them for their trip to Aberdeen.
It was our pleasure this year to have the HBU Dean of Nursing, Dr. Renae Shumann with us in addition to Sue
Schneider and Donna Cox. The group enjoyed refreshments prior to the
presentation to the students, and the group is shown in the above photo to the right. From left to right are Dr. Shuman, Carol Decker,
Isha Patel, Melanie Honeycutt, Mary Metz and Quin McWhirter.The students
said that the only thing standing between them and total excitement were their upcoming final exams.
They were also looking forward
to being present at the OTC breakfast on Saturday, hosted by
Houston Grampian and the British American Business Council. In the photo to the left, the presentation is being made to the students.
Departing on schedule from Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport, Isha and Melanie had a safe flight to Aberdeen
and we received word that they arrived safely, ready to begin their visit to RGU. A time of excitement for the girls, they looked
forward to making new lifetime friends during the course of their visit, both in the classroom and in their other activities there.
They are shown in the photo to the left at the airport in Houston immediately prior to their departure. Upon arrival in Aberdeen,
they were met by students and RGU staff at the airport and taken to Woolmanhill Flats at RGU, their residence for the
time in Aberdeen. After some time to rest and get settled they went to the beach, "which is much different. No swimming or sunbathing as it is a little chilly".The photo to the right was
taken at Aberdeen Beach after their safe arrival, and they are pictured there with Lecturer and USA Coordinator for RGU, Leanna Will, enjoying ice cream cones.
Following this enjoyable beginning in Aberdeen, the student nurse activities began, including classroom studies, clinicals and other activities and events with the student
nurses from RGU. Those two students chosen to take part in the 2014 exchange are Sally-Anne McWilliam and Fiona Mutch. During the week, the students did clinicals at the Royal Aberdeen Children's
Hospital and the Aberdeen Maternity Hospital. In the words of a clinician and an RGU student,
here's a short video clip of a
student at the Children's Hospital, (click here). At the end of the first week, more fun was in store and this account was
received from Melanie. "This weekend and today were great fun! We started out our weekend with a trip to Balmedie beach where we got
to "paddle" or stick our feet into the North Sea. We also went to a beach a little further down the road and were able to see a lot of
seals. Afterwards, we went to Fiona's
house to eat dinner. Fiona and her mother had made us a Mexican dinner with
tortilla soup and fajitas. It was absolutely delicious!
On Saturday we did lots of exploring. We went to Crathes Castle and were able to explore the garden and the inside of the castle. (Photo to the left shows them in the garden and
the photo to the right is of the girls with Marlene McLeod, our dear friend from Grampian/Houston) We also went to the Bridge of Feugh in hopes of seeing salmon jumping, but unfortunately we did
not see any. We then went to a few different towns or areas, including Banchory, Balmoral, Balletor, and Braemar. In Braemar we were able to go to
different shops in town. And were able to walk around a bit. We weren't able to go to Balmoral Castle but we did get to see a tiny bit of it as we drove by, and the flag was raised signaling
someone was there.Sunday and Monday we stayed in Aberdeen around the City Centre to explore and do some shopping. We even had a dinner of fish and chips on Sunday which was delicious and very
Scottish we felt."
As noted in our Houston Grampian webpage about our 2014 Offshore Technology Conference breakfast, our student nurses
were privileged to meet the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Hon. George Adam just prior to departing Houston for this exchange visit. In Aberdeen, it was their great pleasure to be entertained by the
Lord Provost at Aberdeen's Town House and we received this photo
of the event from our dear friend, Bill Neish. In the photo he is pictured with (L to R) Fiona Mutch (RGU), Isobel Maughan, GHA, Isha Patel (HBU), Sally-Anne McWilliam (RGU), Jackie Leith (RGU)
and Melanie Honeycutt (HBU). This special time was a true highlight of the exchange visit. We are pleased and honored by the dedicated and enthusiastic participation in our Sister City activities,
both in Aberdeen and in Houston by the Lord Provost.
Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster (3rd left below) also entertained the nursing exchange students
to lunch at Council Headquarters, Woodhill House, Aberdeen. Shown below in the picture are RGU lecturer Leanna Will (left) and Councillor Ron
McKail, Chairman of the Grampian-Houston Association.
A treat always enjoyed by our HBU students on their exchange visits, includes being hosted for dinner by Marlene and Ian McLeod at the Deeside Golf Club, and this year's visit
was no exception. They are shown below with the McLeods and the RGU students, Sally Anne and Fiona, then the four students are pictured at Balmedie Beach. Also shown below are the Royal Aberdeen
Children's Hospital and the Aberdeen Maternity Hospital where they did clinicals. The final photos are of the students at Crathes Castle and Dunnottar Castle and a panoramic view of Dunnottar.
For the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the student nurse exchange program, a dinner was held to entertain the four exchange students for 2014. Speaking at the dinner,
which was held at the Cults Hotel, Aberdeen Councillor Ron McKail, Chairman of the Grampian-Houston Association, said the association took considerable pride in having been able to provde 80
student nurses the opportunity to study the healthcare system in their Sister City of Houston. He thanked RGU and HBU and their staffs for the essential contribution they had made to the success
of the program and also thanked the GHA members who had acted as co-ordinators of the exchange over the past 20 years - Bob Davidson, Marlene McLeod, Margaret Hadley and Isobel Maughan.
Councillor McKail presented Melanie and Isha with inscribed quaichs as a memento of their visit to the Grampian Region, and Aberdeen Lord Provost George Adam presented the
exchange students with ornaments bearing the City of Aberdeen crest. Among the guests attending the dinner was Dame Anne Begg, Member of Parliament for Aberdeen South since 1997 and Chair of the
House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee. In the photo to the right, she is pictured with the four exchange students and Leanna Will (back left), of the Robert Gordon University, and
Isobel Maughan (back right), of the Grampian-Houston Association. The gathering of dignitaries from Parliament, Grampian Houston, the City of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University are pictured in
the photo to the left.
The final photo from Aberdeen below is of all four students with RGU Coordinator, Leanna Will.
Melanie and Isha arrived safely back in Houston on June 1, exhausted and happy. And so, after 20 years of delightful and profitable student nurse exchanges, our signature
tradition continues. With each year it improves and offers better and better comparisons of the similarities and differences between nursing in Aberdeen and in Houston, and we look forward to many
more years of learning, making lifetime friends, and further solidifying
the relationship between our two sister cities.
In a heartfelt letter to our HGA president, John Lee, who is also Vice President Operations of the Wood Group, who sponsored the exchange visit for HGA, Melanie and Isha wrote this great account of their experience.
"Our appreciation for the Wood
Group PSN cannot be simply expressed in words for sponsoring the Houston Grampian Association Student Nurse Exchange Program. Our experiences in Aberdeen, Scotland were highly educational and
"irreplaceable. From the day we arrived on May 17, 2014 to the day that we departed on June 1, 2014, we were welcomed warmly by our receiving parties. Guided by the staff of Robert Gordon
University, we were able to experience the National Healthcare System first hand. The similarities and differences between our systems, nurses, and cultures promoted growth professionally as well
We truly enjoyed our observational placements to The Royal Aberdeen Children's hospital, Rachel house children's hospice, Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, the Accident and
Emergency Unit, and the Intensive Therapy Unit at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Not only did we get a chance to observe healthcare in acute hospital based settings we were given the opportunity to
experience community based health Aberdeen. Being able to experience these aspects of healthcare, we have expanded our knowledge and learned new skills we will use in our future nursing careers.
During our visit we not only developed new perspectives professionally, but socially and culturally as well. Robert Gordon University nursing students Fiona Mutch and
Sally-Anne McWilliams, who will be coming to Houston in September, took us to many magnificent sights. During our visit we were able to experience the cultural aspect of Scotland by visiting
Dunnotar Castle, Pittmedon garden, Newbrugh beach were we were able to see seals, and numerous parks. We were shown around Aberdeen city as well as the beautiful country side of Aberdeenshire.
Our time observing and experiencing first-hand the culture of Scotland is a time we will never forget.
We are most grateful for the opportunity that you provided for us. It is an irreplaceable opportunity that we are honored to have been chosen for. Thank you again for all
you have done to make this opportunity possible."
In anticipation of welcoming the students from RGU in September, we learned that Grampian-Houston Association has a new student nursing exchange co-ordinator. She is a
registered nurse who has worked both in Texas and Scotland. Kristin Jackson-Brown worked at Humble Surgical Hospital north of Houston before returning to Aberdeen last year. She will oversee the
annual nursing exchange involving students from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen and Houston Baptist University. Kristin now acts as a consultant in excellence in healthcare and quality
On schedule in September, Fiona and Sally-Anne arrived in Houston and after a night of rest, joined members of Houston Grampian at the home of our Chairman, Mary Metz, for an
outstanding potluck dinner and an opportunity to meet and visit. A very special cake was made for dessert, honoring the four students
and they are shown to the left just prior to cutting the cake.
In the third photo, Houston Grampian board members meet and greet the students and begin discussing the upcoming two weeks.
Following this welcoming event, the work began the following day at Houston Baptist University and in the Texas Medical Center.
When the time came to start their work at HBU, the student nurses began attending many classes and making visits to hospitals and clinics in the Texas Medical
Center. They are pictured to the left with the student nursing staff at HBU. Their study and orientation activities in the first week included a visit to the Texas
Chiropractic College and they were hosted there by Dr. Kenneth Sorrels who took them on a tour of the college, including a look at the lab where they study
cadavers to learn about the human body. They are shown in the photo to the right with Dr. Sorrells and Dr. Renae
Schumann, Dean, of the School of Nursing and Allied Health and Associate Professor of Nursing at Houston Baptist University.
They were also honored by Mayor Annise Parker and the City Council of Houston with a proclamation declaring the day
of their visit as "Houston-Grampian Nursing Exchange Program Day".
Very early in this first week, the students went to Galveston for a look at the Gulf Coast and went swimming in the ocean. They also went
to a shooting range where they fired pistols at targets and proclaimed themselves "very good" at this. They were also treated to attendance at the Pasadena Rodeo
and got to see a Sugar Land Skeeters baseball game.
The Sugar Land Skeeters are an American professional baseball team based in Sugar Land, Texas. They are a member of the Atlantic League of Professional
Baseball, an independent league not affiliated with Major League Baseball. The Skeeters are the first Atlantic League team to play outside of the Northeast; the team is also the first of a planned
Western division to include four to six other teams. The Skeeters are the first independent league baseball team in the Greater Houston metropolitan area since the Houston Buffaloes' final season in 1961.
The team's name "Skeeters" is a Southern slang word for mosquito, and the result of a team-sponsored fan poll. Part of the reason for the naming is that mosquitoes are very common in the summer
nights in Texas. In these photos, to the left there are cowboy hats as the girls are shown before heading to the rodeo with HBU student nurse program
coordinator Sue Schneider, and to the right, they are with the Skeeter's mascot, "Swatson" at the game.
As part of their medical orientation to the Houston Medical Center and to have a chance to see how we do things here in Texas, the students
had a chance to visit Methodist Hospital, Memorial Hermann Hospital and also Texas Children's Hospital, each of which offered a good look at nursing in the hospital
environment and especially in the treatment of children of all ages.
Interestingly, the visit to Texas Children's Hospital included a look at the Texas Children’s
Pavilion for Women, which provides women, mothers and babies with a full continuum of high-quality, expert health care. It is staffed with leading
gynecologists and obstetricians who take care of mothers before, during and after birth as well as throughout their life. Located inside of Texas Children's
Pavilion for Women, the Texas Children's Fetal Center is one of a few worldwide with specialists in fetal diagnostic and intervention therapies.
At Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital the RGU students met with nursing senior management and
toured the hospital prior to going with HBU faculty members to Texas Children's to observe students in clinical rotations. They are shown in the photos below,
first at Memorial Hermann with Nancy Yuill, Manager of Performance Improvement and formerly Dean of Nursing at HBU. In the next photo they are shown with
Susan Priest (Assistsnt Professor of Nursing at HBU) doing critical care clinical observation. The third photo was taken of the students in an area of
Texas Children's Hospital near art work which was done by patients.
A special executive tour of St. Luke's Hospital was conducted by HGA vice-president Quin McWhirter, whose grandfather founded the hospital in
the early 1950s. At each stop in St. Luke's the charge nurses gave testimony to how much they have all enjoyed their time as nurses, and the critical importance
that being a nurse provides a person. Quin is shown below with the HBU and RGU students at the end of the very instructive and informative tour.
Although we've been doing this
tour for several years, we had some "firsts" this year and this turned out to be the best tour we've ever
experienced. I guess that's how it is supposed to work. For the first time, we began the tour with lunch in St. Luke's Bertner Avenue Cafe and everyone
immensely. The students are shown to the left just as lunch began. Also, for the first time we were able to observe two separate surgeries, both of the open heart variety. We began the tour in the Denton Cooley Building
where the Heart Museum is located and it has a full history of items, objects, surgical instruments, photos, documentation and everything else that could be
expected from one of the greatest heart surgeons in the world, Dr. Denton A. Cooley and his work at St. Luke's over the many years he practiced. Retired now for
a number of years, Dr. Cooley is 98 years old and still comes to St. Luke's every day.
Our first stop in the working section of the hospital was the Emergency Room, where a charge nurse explained St. Luke's ER services and
history, and then took the group on a tour of the very modern facility. In their remarks at the dinner later that day, the students from RGU said that the
ER offered service very similar to those in Scottish ER facilities. The next location visited was the Cardiac ICU and it proved to be a cutting-edge facility
and a good bit of time there was spent learning about the process of lowering body temperature to prevent heart attack. The machine used for this process
was demonstrated to the students and they showed great interest in the results obtained by its use. Also discussed were other procedures used routinely and
in emergencies in the cardiac intensive care unit. The nurse who conducted this tour has worked at St. Luke's for 40 years and her passion for nursing was
very evident in all that she said.
Perhaps the highlight of the tour was the time spent in the surgical observation dome to watch open heart surgery. It was fortunate that
the students got to observe two surgeries this year. The first was on a patient who had suffered heart failure and the
second was a coronary bypass. To provide
great insight into open heart surgery and the accomplishments of the St. Luke's heart surgeons, please
click Open Heart Surgery for a good look at the history of the
development of coronary bypass surgery, heart transplantation and artificial heart implantation.As you'll note in the video, Dr. Cooley was the first surgeon
in the world to perform a heart transplant and his history is documented in the video. The final stop was in The Terrace, an upscale and very modern floor of
hospital suites, each complete with the patient's room and bathroom, plus a separate comfortable section for family members to stay overnight with the patient.
Below are photos of our students the Emergency Room, in Cardiac Intensive Care, in the Surgery Observation Dome and in one of the suites in The Terrace
Following the tour, preparations were made for the banquet at HBU honoring the student nurses and for this event, we were joined by our
friends from Grampian Houston who came at this time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the student nurse exchange program with us. our Grampian Houston
counterparts arrived early during the students' second week with us and were given a reception at the Hilton the following evening. Shown below are members
of HGA and GHA celebrating this time together as preparations were being made for the 20th anniversary official banquet and celebration.
Prior to sitting to dine and celebrate, the Scottish visitors spent time visiting and remembering the years of the student nursing exchang
and enjoying the social time together. They are shown to the left with happy smiles and anticipation of the celebration that was about to begin. Also, the
lucky webmaster was honored to be in the photo to the right with the four student nurses.
Then the first-ever joint meeting of Grampian Houston and Houston Grampian began as we honored the student nurses on this very special
year of the program. After an enjoyable meal served by the HBU food staff, our students each spoke and gave their impressions of the similarities and
differences regarding how nursing is done in Aberdeen and in Texas. They also took questions from the members. Of particular interest was the subject of
the waiting time for procedures to be scheduled in Scotland vs. the time in Texas, plus the difference between hospital rooms in the Texas Medical Center
as opposed to primarily wards in the hospitals in Scotland. They also noted a number of similarities of both procedures and the commitment of nurses in both
locations. Below are photos of the students speaking and the students together with Carol Decker of HGA and Marlene McLeod and Kristin Jackson-Brown. Shown
also is the dinner table at which HGA CEO Mary Metz and GHA's Jimmy Hay enjoyed dinner.
Next up on the itinerary of the 20th anniversary celebration were events which, to see some of Houston's cultural side,
included a visit to the Rienzi Museum of Fine Arts and lunch
at Kenny & Ziggy's Deli, followed by a tour of HBU and on the following day, a tour of the Houston Tunnel System under the downtown Houston area and lunch at
the Houston Club. Shown above are photos taken by Jimmy Hay at the Rienzi Museum.
A tour of St. Luke's Hospital was also conducted, although without the surgical observation that the students got to see.
Following the St. Luke's tour,
an unplanned visit to the campus of Rice University just "happened" and the GHA members were able to be driven up into the Rice football stadium and drive through
the upper level of it to see the field and take photos. This is the place where President John F. Kennedy made his famous
We choose to go to the moon speech in September, 1962. (Click the underlined link to hear
his speech.) The GHA members are shown to the left at St. Luke's and to the right in Rice Stadium. Ian McLeod summed up the group's feelings about these
two tours saying, "This was truly an experience!"
The climax of the visits of the student nurses and the members of Grampian Houston, was our 20th anniversary celebration held at the
Braeburn Country Club. Remarks were given by Dr. Robert Sloan, President of Houston Baptist University who presented a "thank you" award to Brett Jackson,
Vice President of GHA. Brett also made remarks expressing the appreciation and enthusiasm of Grampian Houston for the years of successful exchange efforts.
special presentation was made by HGA Chairman, Mary Metz to Helen Schmolke, who initiated the Student Nursing Exchange Program 20 years ago. Mary presented
a proclamation honoring Helen for this initiative and expressing the thanks of all of us who have participated in and benefited from the program. To see
the proclamation, please click HERE, and to see more details about Helen, please click her name in the link
above which takes you to an article about her in a 2005 article about her in the Houston Chronicle.
In addition to current student nurses from HBU and RGU, we were also most fortunate to have in attendance, thee former students, now gainfully
employed. They include 2010 HBU students Christin Handy and Evelyn DeLeon, and 2011 RGU student Valerie Stephen. Marriages and children have taken place among
them since their graduation and they are all very successful and happy. They are shown in the photo below with our
four 2014 students.
And, finally . . . at the conclusion of the celebration event, the entire group in attendance gathered for a photo as a very fond
remembrance of this event and all that it represented. The company of Grampians and Houstonians is shown below.
With the week successfully completed there was a unanimous feeling of success in having exceeded the expectations for the celebration and
all of the events we were able to do. Saturday morning, after the formal dinner, we gathered at HBU one last time for a delicious brunch provided by their
kitchen staff. We enjoyed sharing the memories of the time together and re-committing to the success of the student nursing exchange program for another
20 years. Realizing that we are truly blessed by this relationship, we bade each other farewell and safe travel and
expressed hopes of meeting again soon.
To see most (all but 2013) previous years' visits between the sister cities, click HERE