By Kimberly Johnson
It is an honor to be the recipient of the Frist Global Health Fellowship. As a part of this fellowship I will be conducting research aimed at evaluating the effects of a three-week study abroad trip to Cambodia on the Transcultural Self-Efficacy (TSE) perceptions of nursing students. I will also be sharing my insights and experiencing delivering care and teaching within the Cambodian healthcare system, in hopes of evaluating the growth of a sustainable healthcare system.
My name is Kimberly Johnson. I have just completed my first year of the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Belmont University. I am a 2014 Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduate from Belmont University, and I work as an Emergency Room nurse in Birmingham, AL. Along with my passion for nursing, I have a love for world travel. These two passions collide, as I desire to travel the world and explore international healthcare. I believe that the U.S. has many advantages in their healthcare system and that as a country, we are beyond provided for with quality healthcare. As I have seen from previous trips to Haiti and Kenya, there are many individuals that do not have the same opportunities for quality healthcare. My hope is that I am not only able to help provide care for those in need, but also look deeper into the root of the problem and influence sustainability.
Many of you are probably like me and 1) may need a map to be able to locate where Cambodia is and 2) do not know why their country is in need of assistance. So to help you with the first question I have provided a map, and on a world map you can find it sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam. To answer the second more in-depth question, Cambodia has a relatively recent, and dark history. From the years 1975-1979 (only 37 years ago!) the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia and was responsible for one of the worst mass killings of the 20th Century. Under the Marxist leader Pol Pot, over one-th
ird of the population in Cambodia, nearly two million people, died from execution, starvation, disease, or overwork. Individuals’ believed to be educated, wealthy, or powerful were targeted in the mass genocide because Pol Pot envisioned a Cambodia free from religion, social institutions, or modern technology. The genocide has had a lasting impact on the entire country of Cambodia. Not only did the survivors of the Khmer Rouge have to start from nothing, but as a result of the mass killings Cambodia has a “lost generation”. This “lost generation” has greatly impacted the economic status of the country. Those individuals lost were skilled workers, educated professionals, doctors, teachers, and religious leaders. Since the Khmer Rouge, the country has been left to completely build its infrastructure. They must educate and train a whole new generation in the wake of great tragedy and loss.
I hope that you will join me on this journey as I share my thoughts, feelings, and observations in Cambodia.I will be traveling with a group from Belmont University; this group includes professionals and students of pharmacy, physical therapy, and nursing. We will be traveling to many locations in Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Battambang, & Siem Reap). We will be taking part in nurse education and patient care in the hospital, clinic, and home visit settings. Apart from medical care, we will be traveling to the Killing Fields, the Angkor Temples, and many other locations in Cambodia to learn and experience the many depths to this country.