CASO – 5th Meeting in Antwerpen, Belgium

I spent 2 weeks in Antwerpen, Belgium; the 1st week on the CASO project and the 2nd week as a student.

My reflections on the 1st Week: 12 – 16 November 2018
A few months back we were all strangers, but then the strangers became friends and the friends became family. We worked hard on our different projects; on our own, in our own groups as well as in collaboration with each other. I feel that we reached the goals that we set out for the week. I feel very privileged to be part of an amazing team with amazing ‘peoples’.

Reflections for the 2nd Week: 19 – 23 November 2018
During the second week, I visited Avans University in Breda, KdG (Karel de Grote Hogeschool) in Antwerpen, as well as the University in Ghent where the Medical students get their training. This week was full of opportunities to learn and grow and get ideas of systems that we can implement in our Nursing College in South Africa.

Opportunities that made this week special include the visiting of the GET Lab at Avans where we met ART the dinosaur and his friends and experienced virtual reality on another level (level where it actually seems that you are falling from a plank many stories high). We also learned more about how the schooling system in the Netherlands work and that there are opportunities for students from overseas to study there. At KdG we received CRM (crew resource management) training which will aid us in developing better communication skills. We were privileged to take part in a learning activity with the KdG students under the watchful eye of Stef Jansen, Veronique Fromont and their colleagues. We were also introduced to their virtual reality system where student nurses learn to dispense medication correctly to patients in a safe environment.

I was also privileged to attend a lecture on the urinary tract system presented to the 1st year nursing students by Ellen De Buysscher. I enjoyed it tremendously. In Ghent four 3rd year Medical students of UCT (University of Cape Town) and I met up with Bea van Robaeys and Dr Rachel and received a presentation on communication and diversity in healthcare by Prof Demaesschalk. Her energy was palpable and contagious. She also took us for a visit to the ‘wijkgezondheidscentrum’ (Community Health Care Clinic) in Nieuw Gent where Ann explained how their system works and gave us a tour of their facility.

What can I single out as the most memorable event? Nothing!!! I have spent 17 days in this incredible country with absolutely amazing people and saw amazing places. I also ate and drank everything Belgium could offer (I think my trainer will feel ill when he sees me next week).  There is a saying that says that if you did not learn something new every day you did not live for that day. Well, I LIVED every waking moment of every day.

Thank you to all our hosts. And thank you that I can be part of CASO. This experience was absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to see all the ‘peoples’ in Cape Town in May 2019.

Esmarie Wiese


George, South Africa

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