Three groups of USC nursing students and faculty members recently traveled the globe for study abroad and medical mission trips. In March, a group went to Nicaragua to provide services to underprivileged communities, and in May, one study abroad group traveled to the Netherlands, while another traveled to Germany to gain new perspectives on health care.
Nursing faculty members Joan Creed and Kate Chappell along with nurse practitioner students Margaret Darr and Maureen Nwajaiku traveled to the Netherlands as part of a partnership between Inholland University
in Amsterdam and the Alpha Xi chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International.
“A group from the Netherlands has come to South Carolina for 11 years, and this trip started what we hope will be an annual one to the Nether-lands and Inholland University,” Creed said.
During the six-day trip, the students and faculty members studied the health care system of the region by visiting several hospitals and their departments, including emergency, palliative, pediatrics, OB and birth places and general practitioner clinics.
Another trip took seven undergraduate College of Nursing students to Nuremberg, Germany, to study transcultural nursing, ethics and the German health care system. Led by faculty members Deborah McQuilkin and Kelley Wilson, the group engaged with patients in a palliative care Alzheimer’s end-of-life residence and visited a world-class pediatric rheumatism pain clinic. They also shadowed nurses in a 2,000-bed hospital and attended lectures by a health care ethicist on the German Bismarck health system. The trip was in partnership with Evangelische Hochschule Nüremberg, one of the first universities to build a bachelor’s degree to further educate nurses. The German partners will visit USC in September.
For a second year, the College of Nursing has partnered with OneWorld Health for a medical mission trip to Nicaragua. OneWorld Health creates medical centers
that offer low-cost services to underserved communities. Seven B.S.N. students, three
nurse practitioner students and faculty member Karen Worthy were among 42 volunteers on the trip. USC’s five health disciplines — nursing, pharmacy,
social work, medicine and public health — participate in the interprofessional collaboration.
The B.S.N. students managed the triage team for the week, obtaining vital signs, prioritizing patients, assessing acuity and managing all labs. Nurse practitioner students provided primary health care services to the patients. Nurse practitioners took health histories and provided focused physical examinations, diagnosed and treated many common acute and chronic problems, interpreted lab results and ultrasounds, prescribed medications, provided health teaching and counseling, and made referrals to support healthy lifestyle behaviors and prevent illness. In five days the volunteer team provided care for more than 1,100 underprivileged patients.