Nursing Students in Nicaragua
A group of students and faculty members, along with an alumnus of the School of Nursing, recently spent 10 days in community health locations in Managua, Nicaragua, where they performed obstetric and well-baby assessments and provided wound care and immunizations.
Students delivering care in a Managua barrio.
The trip was one of many for groups from Duquesne. For nearly 15 years the School of Nursing has been collaborating with the nursing school at Universidad Politecnica de Nicaragua (UPOLI) in Managua to provide community health care. From the outset, Leah Cunningham, assistant dean, Student Services, has organized the trip for the School of Nursing, and earned the respect of colleagues among the faculty and staff at UPOLI as well as in hospitals in Nicaragua.
This recent trip was highly structured, with daily visits to the Centro de Salud hospital and to a local barrio. The group also toured numerous national reference hospitals, and the students spent time with Nicaraguan families.
These Nicaraguan trips provide opportunities to experience cultural diversity in meaningful ways. According to the students, the highlight of the trip was the opportunity for pairs of nursing students to spend four days with a family in a neighborhood of Managua.
Sometimes relying on limited Spanish, the students were able to create a strong bond with the families, while assessing their health needs and providing family members with education regarding their health. Through money that was raised through donations and a hat and glove sale, the Duquesne students and UPOLI were able to offer a variety of services, including medication, education and screening, to families in their homes.
Conditions in Nicaragua were a shock to some of the students, but the group was deeply impressed with the resourcefulness and warmth of the local people, inspiring them to examine their lives and values.
For some in the group, this will not be their last trip to Nicaragua. In the future, Duquesne alumni with the help of the faculty plan on organizing an additional trip to continue the relationships that each student has made there. In addition, with an overwhelming number of donations this year, Duquesne School of Nursing is working with UPOLI to create a scholarship fund that would allow Nicaraguan students to attend the nursing program at UPOLI.
Doctoral-level students in the PhD and DNP programs have the opportunity to explore global health care during the summer course, GPNS 917 Transcultural Care and Global Health Perspectives. This course explores the impact of globalization on health care and health care planning, and the need to design health care systems that are responsive to diverse cultural needs. The focus is on select global health problems assessed in a multidisciplinary manner to assure attention to the underserved and their complex cultural needs and requirements. Students participate in a fieldwork/immersion experience in order to gain a better understanding of a specific health care system and the cultural influences on that system in the United States or from a global perspective. Previous students have engaged in this experience in Montreal and Toronto, Canada, as well as via non-western health practices in the United States. The current graduate students will have an opportunity to learn about the Italian health care system by going to Rome, Italy in the summer of 2011. The intended outcome of the course is directed at increasing the capacity of health care professionals to develop culturally-sensitive health care systems.