My favorite part about the classes at FIE London, is that fact that our professors utilize the city of London as a learning tool! We are able to go on field trips that pertain to our class subjects, all while exploring our temporary home. Recently in my Healthcare Policy class, we took a visit to Victoria Medical Centre, a healthcare practice in Westminster.
The United Kingdom has universal healthcare, meaning all of their citizens are medically covered under the government. The National Health Service (NHS) is the healthcare system that is utilized, and occupies many affiliated healthcare practices, the Victoria Medical Centre being one of them.
The Victoria Medical Centre is a “surgery” here in the United Kingdom, which we know as “primary care” in the United States. The Victoria Medical Centre serves 16,000 patients every year. Patients are able to make an appointment with either a general physician or a nurse, depending on their health care needs, free of charge. Our visit was unique, because we were able to sit in and observe a monthly lunch meeting between general physicians and nurses. We were also able to listen and engage in a presentation about otology and hearing aids. So, what did I learn from my visit to the Victoria Medical Centre? Many things about UK healthcare!
The general physicians, nurses and other healthcare staff all took the time to introduce themselves to us when we arrived at Victoria Medical Centre. As the presentation went on, we were able to ask questions and clarifications as needed, all which were answered thoroughly and with enthusiasm. After the meeting and the presentation, a qualified nurse (known as a registered nurse in the United States), sat down with us personally and discussed what it is like to be a nurse in the United Kingdom. As a student nurse, I really appreciated learning about the differences between nursing overseas!
Finally, we had the opportunity to take a tour of the Victoria Medical Centre. We were able to see patient waiting rooms, physician rooms and a minor surgery room. Despite the differences in our healthcare systems, the healthcare rooms did not differ much from those we are familiar with in the United States. Very simple and sanitary, the Victoria Medical Centre seems like a great place to receive health care, in my experience.
Being able to tour a United Kingdom health care facility, especially as a student nurse, was an opportunity I am so grateful to have had. Experiencing your future career in a new country is very illuminating. I am very excited for our future hospital endeavors here in the London!