TCL instructor visits China: experiences history, culture, healthcare

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Technical College of the Lowcountry Radiologic Technology Program Director John Eichinger recently returned from a ten-day trip to the People’s Republic of China. And as one would expect, his experiences were full of cultural, historical, and scenic excursions. However, Eichinger’s trip came with a twist – it was specifically designed for those interested in healthcare and included visits to several Chinese hospitals.

 

Eichinger traveled with fellow members of Lambda Nu, the National Honor Society for Radiologic and Imaging Sciences, and faculty and students from Arkansas State University and Henderson State University in Arkansas.

 

Eichinger’s favorite part was being immersed in the Chinese culture. “The most important thing I learned was how very different people can communicate, understand, and respect each other in social and medical environments, he said. “Plus it was truly amazing to see history and technology working together in present-day medicine, especially in such a large populous nation as China,” he said.

 

Eichinger is sure that his experiences abroad will enhance his instruction at TCL.

 

“I believe any time a person has the opportunity to visit and learn a little about a diverse culture, the experience will add a different dimension to teaching in any subject,” he said.

 

Students and Physicians studying Radiology Chinese People gather to sing in the early morning outside Yue-Yang Hospital Shanghai, China Looking across the Huanpu River
Hua Mountains Terracotta Warriors exhibit in Xian, China

 

Highlights of Eichinger’s trip included trips to Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai.

 

In Shanghai, he toured Yue-Yang Integrated Medicine Hospital, which is affiliated with Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  Yue-yang is a Class 3-A Municipal General Hospital involved with medical care, education, and research. The hospital is the only municipal integrated medicine hospital established by the Chinese National TCM Administration Bureau.  TCM is defined as a medical science governing the theory and practice of traditional Chinese medicine which includes departments of Pharmacology, Herbology, Acupuncture, Massage, and Qigong.  During an average workday, the city of Shanghai swells to a daily population of approximately 31 million people.  Yue-yang hospital, with over 600 beds, sees 10,000 inpatients and 1.1 million outpatients each year.  The hospital was established in 1952. In 2005 the World Health Organization (WHO) established an International Standard Clinical Training Center for Acupuncture at Yue-Yang.

 

Today, both TCM and western medicine are used together to provide medical and health services to China.  In addition to the above, western influences include the Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Orthopedics, Cardiology, and Digestive Diseases.   The tour included live demonstrations in the traditional departments of Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Fire Cupping, Physical Therapy, and Pharmacy.  Also observed were the areas of patient registration, triage, laboratory, and a physician patient assessment clinic. More familiar departments visited were Digital Imaging, Magnetic Resonance, Computed Tomography and Ultrasound.

 

“It was impressive to see how different, yet alike, we are as a people and a culture,” Eichinger said.

 

Other historical and cultural visits included the Pearl Tower, World Expo, and Shanghai Museum, Terra Cotta Warriors and Huashan Mountain in Xian.  While in Beijing, he visited the National Museum of China, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, a performance by the Chinese Acrobats, and climbing the Great Wall.

 

Eichinger serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Educators in Imaging and Radiologic Sciences. Eichinger has served as the radiologic technology program director at TCL since the program began in 2003.  He studied radiologic technology at Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital in Parkersburg, W.V., and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Salem College in West Virginia.  He received his Master’s degree in Radiologic Sciences from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.  He is certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists in both radiography and computed tomography and is also a member of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, South Carolina Society of Radiologic Technology and Lambda Nu National Honor Society for the Radiologic and Imaging Sciences.

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