Nursing and Public Health Shadowing Programs for Chinese Students


2019 is the second year for the Chinese students to participate in the IGH Global Health Care Professional Shadowing Program. Fifteen public health students and fourteen nursing students came to MSU for an eight-week long learning experience. The program is composed of four parts: professional shadowing, language learning, academic enhancement, and community engagement.

Professional shadowing is the focus of this program. Public health students went to the Ingham County Health Department and shadowed with doctors, nurses, administrators, and other specialists. The students had a unique opportunity to learn about the American public health system and how it serves the people especially the vulnerable population. They were impressed and touched by the professionalism and passion demonstrated by American staff.

Most of the nursing students have not fully experienced hospitals before they came to MSU. During the program, the students had a three-week shadowing experience at the Great Lansing McLaren Hospital. They get to observe the work at most units and learn first-hand how nurses and doctors work together to provide quality treatment to patients. Some students were able to talk to patients and their family members and learn about American patients’ experiences directly. Students were deeply impressed by the humanistic care in the hospital. They reflected on Chinese hospital practices and had a better understanding of the differences between the two countries.

Language learning and academic enhancement took place in the setting of classroom. Students were exposed to a student-centered learning in their English class. They commented on how they never knew learning a language could be so much fun. Many of them changed their attitude to learning English from a burden to an enjoyable activity.

Community engagement is very important and meaningful to both the students and the local community. The public health students got an opportunity to visit and meet with members at a site of the Meals on Wheels program in Lansing through the Tri-county Office of Aging. All students helped packing the meals for the program as volunteers. Students presented to the senior citizens at the Prime Time of East Lansing. They showed and led the group to practice Tai Chi and Chinese Wuqinxi, which is an ancient Chinese practice mimicking five different birds’ movement. They also introduced how the Chinese use herbs in cooking to cultivate a healthy diet and eating. The nursing students demonstrated some traditional Chinese techniques to treat body pain and physical problems. The exchange activities were so well received by the senior citizens that they wanted to learn more in future.

The students learned and broadened their horizon in health and health care through this program. They enjoyed and cherished their experience with American professionals. Many of them wished the program at MSU was longer.