Undergraduate 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.
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Read about the Nicaragua Health Fund.
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