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July 2021

Together, we can save newborn lives – will you join us?

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I have worked with Newborns Vietnam, teaching neonatal nurses since 2017. Every trip to Vietnam is for me a joy, always with a warm and friendly welcome back.

Since 2019 I have taught in Hanoi. The neonatal unit is almost always full to capacity with nurses and doctors working extremely hard to care for the babies. But despite their long, stressful shifts, the nurses are always eager to learn and so keen to improve on their nursing knowledge and practice. The nurses are so attentive during lessons, tutorials and demonstrations, absorbing every word eagerly, making teaching such a pleasure. Our lessons are lively and interactive, filled with questions on what is being said, to improve their understanding, and in depth discussions on the evidence that supports our practice. We have also introduced simulation lessons, case-based discussion and quality improvement issues, to go alongside theory on neonatal conditions. But it is not all dull classroom learning. Weekly quizzes related to the topics we are learning, often end up as very competitive events and often we get a knock on the door asking what all the hilarity is about!! I find it hard not to smile when I am in their company, they radiate warmth and affection and always display a deep gratitude for the chance at learning more about the job they love.

Outside the classroom, the nurses are keen to implement the evidence into their practice and improve the quality of their care. One area they have worked hard on, is integrating the family into all that we do on the neonatal unit, not just seeing them as visitors. Once the nurses understood the impact parents’ presence has, not only on their baby’s wellbeing and development, but also on maternal mental health and breast feeding, they quickly opened their doors to parents of even the sickest of babies. I am extremely proud of how the nurses have grown, not only in knowledge, but in confidence. The nurses in Hanoi are quickly becoming not just the voice of the baby, but the voice of the families in their care. It is a real thrill to see this change in practice. Through the neonatal education programme funded by Newborns Vietnam and delivered by Edinburgh Napier University the neonatal nurses are going from strength to strength, I know they are making a difference.

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