University of Queensland Ipswich nursing student Elissa Jackson will volunteer at a Cambodian military clinic at the foot of Phnom Bok Mountain from January 5.
University of Queensland Ipswich nursing student Elissa Jackson will volunteer at a Cambodian military clinic at the foot of Phnom Bok Mountain from January 5. Sarah Harvey

Nurse volunteering in Cambodia

IT is a world away from the quiet streets of Flinders View, but for nursing student Elissa Jackson, spending her holiday volunteering in a Cambodian health clinic is a dream come true.

The 23-year-old is among a group of 15 University of Queensland (UQ) students who, accompanied by three clinical lecturers, will depart on January 5 for a new military clinic at the foot of Phnom Bok Mountain, near Siem Reap in Cambodia’s north-west.

For Elissa, the trip will be her first overseas.

“I think it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Ms Jackson said.

“Not everyone gets the chance to go to a developing country and help them in a medical way.”

Ms Jackson, who hopes to work in paediatric or community health, said the placement would help her gain valuable skills.

“It is all the basic skills nursing is about,” she said.

“Generally in the clinic where we will work the equipment will be pretty basic.

“We will be using basic equipment such as thermometer and stethoscopes to diagnose and treat.”

Clinical lecturer Peta Crompton said the students would attend the official opening of the clinic by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen before beginning a four-week community health placement.

“Given the history of the site as a military camp, the students are expecting to treat many returned soldiers, their wives and children as well as local villagers,” she said.

“We envisage the most common health issues will include chronic pain and infections associated with older wounds such as amputations and landmine injuries as well as tropical illnesses.”

In January this year, the first group of UQ nursing students volunteered at the New Hope Cambodia community centre and orphanage in one of Siem Reap’s poorest areas.



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