In 2018, while at a freshmen Capstone luncheon, Avery Cambria learned about a service-learning medical mission trip led by former College of Nursing professor Patrick Hickey each spring break for UofSC students. He approached Dr. Hickey to learn more, and when spring break arrived, Cambria was off to Guatemala with a group of eager UofSC students, ready to make a difference.
"The first few days of the trip, we were all a little anxious working together and learning what we needed to do. By the end of the trip, there was such a difference in our confidence and how we interacted with each other in clinical. We became so much more efficient as a team and in our skills," he shares. Cambria gained valuable hands-on medical experience working with injections, patient intake, and administering medication.
"Getting the opportunity to work in a clinical setting was amazing, but it was learning about the culture and the country's health care system that impacted me the most," says Cambria.
"It changed my whole outlook on health care and made me take a step back and process others' situations and how privileged I am," he continues. Now, as a junior, Cambria is looking forward to participating in another spring break medical trip to rural Nicaragua (his sophomore year trip was canceled due to COVID-19). This year, he is the nursing student leader representative and is excited to mentor fellow nurses during the experience. "Before my first trip, I lived in a cultural bubble. I'm looking forward to taking a group of students to Nicaragua and seeing how the trip impacts them," Cambria says.