A Road to Excellence: A Letter from China

Written by Yu Jia, Bin Jie,Ying Zhang, and Ningning Jin

As students in the second cohort of this joint program between the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and Peking Union Medical College, it was difficult when we first arrived in Baltimore in late July due to jet lag, language problems, culture shock, and worries about not being able to keep up with the study here.

But fortunately we got a strong support from JHUSON. Professor Marie Nolan, PhD, RN was responsible for our academic arrangement, and Susan Bullock from the Office of Global Nursing handled our schedule arrangement. Our Hopkins advisors encouraged us with praise and academic guidance, and everyone inside of the PhD research room was also so nice and helpful.

We had five required courses: “Dissertation seminar,” “Writing for Publication,” “Measurement in Health Care Research,” “Academic English,” and “Issues and Trends for Global Health.” Those courses were intriguing, informative, and interactive. We could ask questions at any time, or even make appointments with teachers.

One of our emphases here was to finish the dissertation proposal. We wrote reviews, had discussions with our advisers, and gave each other suggestions also. Even the hour before the final proposal presentation we were still making some modifications. Fortunately the success of our presentations made all those efforts worthwhile.

In October, faculty, staff and students attended our presentation on Chinese culture. They were so interested-even in elevators there were people asking us about the content of the presentations!

Also we attended meetings, visited lots of centers and institutions, and spent Thanksgiving with professor Maryann Fralic, DrPH, RN, FAAN. All those activities brought us unforgettable knowledge and joys.

At the closing dinner banquet in Dean Martha Hill’s house, we commented that “Five months may not be long enough, but it is important enough to change our whole lives.” The time spent at JHUSON not only taught us how to learn, how to teach, and how to conduct research-more importantly, it showed us how to combine excellence and diversity in nursing science.

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