Nars Jenna: MSN Practicum in the Philippines

Nars Jenna: MSN Practicum in the Philippines

By: Jenna Oien

Ang pangalan ako ay Jenna. Nars ako—My name is Jenna, I am a nurse.

I am an MSN (Entry into Nursing) student currently completing my synthesis practicum at Philippine General Hospital in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. A lot of people ask me about doing my practicum abroad, so here are some of my answers.

Why are you going to the Philippines?

A major part of the reason I decided to go to Hopkins Nursing was because of the opportunity to do my nursing practicum internationally. I know I want to work in global health– what better way to learn about another country’s health system and regional context than by living and working in it?

The fact that I am going to the Philippines is totally by chance, it was the only international site that was ready to accept a student this semester. It’s ironic because this is the only region (other than Eastern Europe, I suppose) that I haven’t experienced yet. I’m from Miami and spoke pretty good Spanish when I lived there, but the Peace Corps sent me to Tanzania. When I got back and started working at USAID, I thought I would be involved with an East African country team and instead worked on the teams for Yemen and Egypt. Now, in my final semester of nursing school, I thought I might go to any of the three regions in which I already have some experience. Instead, I have an opportunity to explore a new region entirely.

Wow! That’s so awesome that the school pays for that experience for you!

The school gave me a couple of generous scholarships that help me cover some costs (my airfare and a few weeks of housing), but the rest is up to me. I figure that I’m already in so much debt with grad school and this is such an incredible experience that another couple thousand dollars isn’t going to make much difference in the long run.

If you do feel so inclined to help with expenses, I have created a YouCaring fundraiser to help you do just that!

So what exactly are you going to be doing in the Philippines?

For the next ten weeks I’ll be living and working in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Through the WHO Collaborating Center at the University of the Philippines School of Nursing, I will be paired with preceptors in each of a handful of units: peds and adult emergency department, trauma ward, pay ward, labor and delivery, outpatient center, and the Manila Health Department.

I will be working as a nurse, just under the supervision of another nurse. That means I’ll be assessing patients, administering medications, performing wound care, and educating patients. I will also be working with a group of students who are stateside on our synthesis practicum evidence-based practice project – topic TBD.

Where will you stay?

The housing the hospital recommended was incredibly expensive, so I got an AirBnB near the hospital in the business district. It has WiFi, a pool, a fitness center, and multiple yoga studios, a Starbucks, and PinkBerry within walking distance. Yeah, I’m pretty excited about all that too.

Aren’t you nervous about being away from friends and family during such a stressful time?

Yes, of course. I have an incredible support system and very loving fiancé who would love nothing more than for me to stay home and do my practicum at the hospital down the street from where we live. But I have a knack for staying calm under incredible amounts of pressure. I’m a solution-focused gal and I am pretty resourceful with whatever I have available– just ask my mom. I feel called to work internationally and create partnerships between folks who have a lot to learn from each other, and this is just one more step on that path. I’m very lucky to have the support back home that I do in order to continue this journey.

Are you worried about being able to find a job when you get back since your practicum was not at an American hospital?

I’m pretty fortunate, I have a work commitment at a hospital in Montgomery County when I graduate, which means that I will definitely have a job I just don’t know in what department yet. I believe my experience will put me in a great position to work in the emergency room (which is what I want).

Global Health Opportunities at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing 


Jenna Oien is an MSN (Entry Into Nursing) student graduating in 2018. She previously served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania and is currently completing her synthesis practicum in Manila, Philippines. You can read her blog here 


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