One of the longstanding mission areas of Olivia’s Place has been to impact therapy throughout China and it is an area that is close to my heart. Earlier in the summer I was privileged to be part of a team leading a professional development course at XinHua Hospital. The course was jointly led with Pacific University, Oregon, US and focused on care for babies born prematurely. We were able to provide the course for free through a grant secured by the university.
The course was divided into two parts. The first was online study with articles and teaching materials to be read and assignments to complete. This lasted for four weeks with an hour online discussion with the U.S.-based professors each week. The second part was a three day workshop. The university professors flew over for this. I helped with translation, cultural adaptation, and coaching during the practical elements of the workshop. It was so encouraging to watch the skills and confidence of the participating therapists grow as they first practiced on dolls and then older babies and finally the very small premature babies on the NICU. Having therapists work on NICUs in China is more or less unheard of and everyone had the sense that we were all part of something new and exciting for the therapy professions as well as for the children and parents. When we asked when they planned to use their newly learned skills, ‘tomorrow’ was the answer. As far as we know, they will be the first service of this kind in China.
The course was considered a success by those who both taught and learnt on it. A second is already planned for this fall focusing on another skill area. It can also be provided with no charge due to the grant. We already hope that these two courses may be the beginning of something bigger and even more therapists can continue developing their skills in the future.