Several students in the College of Nursing spent time during the past semester working and studying across the globe.
Doug Long, who graduated in May with his BSN, was part of a study abroad course that visited Nicaragua for one week. Students set up clinics in local villages where they triaged patients and provided health education. They also staffed an eyeglass station for those with inadequate vision. Long said their clinics saw 200 patients a day ranging in age from a few weeks to over 100 years old.
Outside of the clinical experiences, some of the most impactful moments for Long were the times he and his fellow students spent with children in the villages. “Every time we switched stations or had a break, we would play soccer with the kids. Just the smiles and laughter it brought to the children was something I’ll never forget,” Long said.
One of the biggest takeaways for Long was the difference in health care in Nicaragua versus in the U.S., and that it wasn’t exactly what he expected. “Every culture views health care differently and it was great insight seeing it firsthand. I will take this with me into my future career and be sure that I am culturally aware,” he said.
Two nursing students, Chandler Sharpe and Bryce Morgan, visited the Dominican Republic for a week through SCORE International, a Christian missionary organization, as part of a medical, dental and construction team. Sharpe and Morgan traveled to two different villages and set up medical and dental worksites in local churches. They participated in providing health assessments, basic dental care and medical treatments.
“Health care in the Dominican Republic is a lot different from the States. Most of the people we see can’t afford to go to the doctor or get medicine at the pharmacy, so they rely on medical teams coming down and giving them medicine when they are seen in a clinic,” Sharpe said.
Though the language barrier was at times difficult, both students found ways to work around the barriers and learned a lot from the experience. “I realized how important language is to be able to connect with your patient. It can be difficult … but finding a way will allow for better treatment and a more trusting relationship. Seeing the smiles of the patients allowed me to set aside our differences and provide the best care possible,” Morgan said.
Studying and working abroad not only provides students with a unique and memorable experience, but also expands their educational and professional horizons. The College of Nursing offers many study abroad opportunities throughout the year for undergraduate and graduate students.