December 13, 2017  

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South Korean Students Visit Southern Miss Nurse Anesthesia Program

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Pictured left to right: Woosong University student Hye-wan Gwon; Dr. Michong Rayborn, Assistant Professor, USM Nurse Anesthesia Program; Woosong University student So-Hyun Lee; and Dr. Lachel Story, USM College of Nursing Assistant Dean for Research and Evaluation. (University Communications photo by Van Arnold)

South Korean college students So-Hyun Lee and Hye-wan Gwon got their first taste of southern fried catfish, coupled with an introduction to The University of Southern Mississippi’s Nurse Anesthesia Program, during a recent visit to Hattiesburg. By all accounts, they enjoyed each sampling immensely.

Both are first-year nursing students at Woosong University in the Republic of Korea (South Korea) with hopes of becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). They became familiar with the USM College of Nursing’s NAP program after hearing Assistant Professor Michong Rayborn speak at an international conference.

“Unfortunately, CRNA’s as a nursing career has not flourished in Korea in recent years, and there is not much information regarding the profession in Korea,” said Rayborn, who helped coordinate the students’ visit to USM. “However, Woosong University recently initiated a pilot program to encourage students to acquire creative and practical knowledge about their chosen majors. These students decided to learn more about the practice of CRNA’s in the U.S., especially focusing on education and leadership of CRNA’s.”

Rayborn points out that there are less than 1,000 nurse anesthetists in South Korea, which has a population of more than 50 million. Conversely, there are approximately 50,000 CRNA’s in the United States.

“I have always been interested in the nurse anesthetist field,” said Lee, whose mother works as a CRNA in South Korea. “Helping patients, especially when it comes to managing their pain, is very important to me. My goal is to have a career as a nurse anesthetist in the United States, and I would very much love to join the program here at USM when the time comes.”

When asked to pinpoint the highlight of her first visit to South Mississippi, she enthusiastically replied: “The fried catfish. It is just so delicious.” She noted that deer sausage also proved quite tasty.

Gwon hopes to ultimately serve patients in her native country as a nurse anesthetist. “I want to learn as much as I can about this particular field, and the opportunity to visit a program like the one here has been extremely valuable,” she said.

During their stay, the students toured the Hattiesburg campus while also attending a legislative reception sponsored by the Mississippi Nurse Association and Mississippi Association of Nurse Anesthetists. (MANA). They also attended the MANA Annual Meeting and Educational Session held Jan. 26-29 in Jackson, Miss.

To learn more about the USM College or Nursing’s Nurse Anesthesia Program, call 601.266.5445 or visit: https://www.usm.edu/nursing/nurse-anesthesia-program-nap