The Fairy Garden is a haven for sick children and their families as they cope with the stress of illness. Initially installed at John Hunter Hospital in one of the hospital’s courtyards, it proved so popular that planning began for one in Thailand.
A group of Australian volunteers, including Associate Professor Pamela van der Riet, began planning in 2010 with the garden officially opening in April 2012. Delegations from UON have visited Lampang Hospital every year since, and are part of an increasingly international focus for the School of Nursing and Midwifery.
With the latest group of 12 students departing in the second week of June for a two-week study tour, their visit coincides with fundraising efforts at Callaghan, Ourimbah and Port Macquarie as part of recent International Nurses Day celebrations, with almost $2,000 raised.
While the student trip is covered by the Federal government’s New Colombo Mobility Program Plan, the Fairy Garden relies on community funding to sustain operations, which staff and students have continued to do since its opening.
Dr Van der Riet says that trips like these immerse students in the Thai system to teach the sorts of cultural sensitivities that help nurses in a multicultural nation such as Australia. Researchers are also discovering that these types of “healing environments” are having a tangible impact on the health of patients.
Dr Van der Riet has been lead author on two recent nursing journal articles written with her Thai colleagues on the experiences of families using the Lampang garden, with visible improvement to the quality of life for sick children. With many of the children suffering chronic diseases such as leukemia and other life-threatening illnesses at the hospital, having the only green space that exists in Lampang hospital available for children helps alleviate the stress of long-term stays.
University of Newcastle Nursing SchoolThe University of Newcastle Nursing School has an innovative approach to undergraduate and graduate teaching, and enjoys close collaboration with local area health services in providing clinical learning experiences for students, in the provision of graduate programs and in the conduct of clinical research. The school strives to prepare and develop nurses to function in a wide range of clinical settings, occupational health facilities and rehabilitation services.
Program: Bachelor of Nursing
Location: Newcastle, New South Wales
Semester intake: February
Duration: 3 years
Application deadline: While there is no set application deadline candidates are encouraged to submit their applications before the end of September for the February intake.