📍Geneva, Switzerland – Blog #6

Here in Geneva, the main language is French, and even the architecture looks different than the previous, German-speaking parts of Switzerland. There are creperies, high-end shopping, and huge plazas with outdoor seating for restaurants. This afternoon, after we got settled in our hotel and had lunch by Lake Geneva, we went for a visit to the International Council of Nurses, which is headquartered in Geneva, and walked around Nations Square. The speaker talked about their initiatives and role in international medicine, specifically with a code of ethical guidelines and helping nurses through the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some major topics of interest right now are the nursing shortages and burnout that results in quick turnover of nursing staff. In the next few days, we will have a Zoom call with a representative from the World Health Organization and will tour the international Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.

Geneva is a really interesting city because it is home to many international organization headquarters. We got to see the United Nations Headquarters, International Red Cross Committee museum, and World Health Organization Headquarters in addition to the International Council of Nurses headquarters.

WHO Headquarters – currently under construction.
“Broken Chair,” a sculpture and the UN Headquarters across the street.

Today’s blog prompts ask me to imagine living in Switzerland and picture what my life would be like here…

Even though my favorite city has been Zurich, I think I would live in Basel if I were to stay here. I was really interested in the heroin clinic and could see myself working there or as a nurse at the psychiatric facility we visited. I also felt really inspired by the faculty at the University of Basel; they are extremely passionate about advancing nurse education in the future, and that is something I would love to be a part of. Like I mentioned in a previous post, a major research focus here is implementation science, and it seems like these projects are very plausible in their health care system and smaller population. It would be really cool to do research through this university as well. I would love to investigate the need for nurse practitioners and how it would affect their health care system. There is some push back because physicians feel like they are being replaced and do not want another profession stepping on their toes, which is understandable. However, nurse practitioners provide a more holistic view of care and add to the field, rather than take away from it. They can address a need for practitioners, advocate for patients, and use their patient-centered care training to add that personal touch. I would love to be a part of this change.

I can imagine weekend trips to go paragliding and skiing in the alps or swimming in the lakes in Interlaken. Switzerland is home to such natural beauty; I would love to take advantage of the amazing hikes and outdoor activities the country has to offer. Additionally, Basel shares close borders with France and Germany, making it a kind of melting pot for the 3 cultures, so I can imagine traveling between the 3 frequently and easily. I imagine eating lunch and watching the sunset by the Rhine and swimming in the river whenever they close it off to boat traffic.

The people here are kind, respectful, organized, and timely – all of which I love. People seem to be motivated and passionate about their jobs and education. I think my personality meshes really well with the culture we have experienced. Overall, I would love the proximity to other countries, the ease of the public transport systems, and have the outdoor escape that the Alps offer. Living in Switzerland wouldn’t be too shabby!

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