Archive for Scholarships

My Experiences as a Student Nurse

Roya Shareefy, BSN Class of 2017, BUNDLE Scholar

Being in nursing school was definitely my most challenging years both academically and in life. When they say that nursing school takes over your life, I can say that nursing school truly did. I had to focus more on my studies than other aspects of life, and learn so much in a short amount of time. The clinical experience of nursing school allowed me to have the opportunity to put what I learned in my classes and readings into action. Clinicals really put in perspectivewhat it truly is like to be a nurse. We talk about this all the time in our classes, but nothing fully captures the skills and responsibilities necessary for nursing better than hands-on experience in a clinical environment.

I experienced so much during my clinical rotations. My first clinical rotation at the main Emory University Hospital eased me into performing nursing functions. I remember when I first started, I felt nervous about actually providing nursing care. When I compare myself to how I was when I first started clinicals, I have definitely learned and grown so much as a student nurse. One of my favorite experiences during clinical was when I had a patient who was first starting chemotherapy. My nurse preceptor told me that patients often experience an anaphylactic reaction to the medication when theyfirst start chemotherapy, so it is important to run the medication at a slower rate. My nurse preceptor said that if we had a patient who reacted to the medication, we should stop running the chemo, check the patient’s blood pressure, and then give the appropriate medication from the emergency kit. When I checked my patient a couple of minutes after starting his chemotherapy, I asked him questions related to a anaphylactic reaction. I also noticed his face was getting a little red and he looked short of breath. He mentioned having lower back pain, so I immediately stopped the infusion, started taking his blood pressure, and notified my nursing preceptor. His blood pressure was within his normal limits, so we gave him Benadryl via his IV. The Benadryl helped the patient, and we had the Benadryl running when we started his chemotherapy medication again, but at a slower rate stated by the physician. This time the patient did not have a anaphylactic reaction, and tolerated his chemotherapy well.

This experience taught me how important it is to asses your patient and to teach your patient beforehand about the reaction the patient could have due to the medication. My nurse preceptor and I taught our patient about the reactions he could have due to the chemotherapy; due to our teaching, our patient recognized his symptoms and was able to know that what he was experiencing was an expected adverse reaction. During clinicals, I had many experiences where I had to think on my feet and conduct nursing care quickly. These experiences taught me a lot about how to be a nurse and emphasized the importance of conducting proper patient care.

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Roya Shareefy is  a fourth year student from Atlanta, Georgia pursing her BSN degree at Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. She is a BUNDLE Scholar, and serves on the executive board of Emory’s Multicultural Student Nursing Association.

Clinical Experience in Emory Midtown Hospital

Xiqin Huang, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

My name is Xiqin Huang, and I am a junior BSN student in the Emory School of Nursing. I am from Queens, New York.

The clinical rotation is very important component in the nursing education, because it can integrate your knowledge from lectures into real life settings. I had my medical/surgical clinical rotation in Emory Midtown Hospital for past 2 months, and it was a great experience.

My unit is an extremely busy because there are 50 beds with 10 nurses and 5 nurse techs. Also, in this unit, we had a great variety of patients such as COPD, HIV, pressure ulcers etc. During this clinical, I was able to see many diseases processes and nursing interventions that were described my textbooks. Usually, each student is assigned to one patient for the whole clinical rotation and paired up with that patient’s primary nurse. In 1st week in the hospital, I had a fabulous, wonderful nurse who really took her time to welcome and teach me. She asked me to explain all the medication to her. Also, she brought me to watch procedures on other patients that I wasn’t assigned so that I could get to experience new things.

Moreover, in this clinical, I was able to give different medications through different routes such oral, IV, G-tube etc. It was a wonderful learning opportunity to get more exposures in real hospital setting instead of reading books and watching videos. In my very last clinical shift, I was able to observe my patient’s surgical procedure, craniotomy. It is the surgical removal of part of the bone from the skull to expose the brain. And I saw other different types of nurses in operating room. A scrub nurse prepares the operating area by laying out the necessary instruments and equipment. Before each procedure, nurses thoroughly disinfect their hands and arms and then putting on sterile clothing. Under the direction of the surgeon, scrub nurses handle instruments, assist with procedures, and monitor the patient throughout the operation.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience for me in the nursing school, and it made me to become more interested in nursing field.

A Year Worth of Clinical

Isai Flores, BSN Junior, BUNDLES Scholar

The night before clinical I could not sleep from excitement. Filled with nervousness and anxiousness, I tossed and turned in my bed unaware that the morning was quickly approaching. I had organized everything I needed prior to going to bed. I neatly folded my scrubs and placed them on top of my dresser. I imagined how it would feel to finally be in the hospital in my uniform. I felt proud about all the skills that I had learned in the classroom. However, I also knew that I would not perform my skills on mannequins but rather on living people. I did not have the luxury of getting a second opportunity to perform the given skill. When I woke up in the morning, I put that anxiety behind me and pushed forward knowing I was prepared. I put my scrubs on, double-checked if I had packed everything and headed out the door anticipating my first footsteps in the hospital. I expected to see a wide array of patients – each unique with different health concerns and with different plans of care. I yearned to see how nursing theory translated into practice.

Turning left off of Ponce de Leon Drive, I saw the sign: Emory University Midtown Hospital. I was ready to enter the hospital and arrive at Unit 31. The culture of the unit could be summed up in one word: inviting. This was my first semester in nursing school.  They were very open to us even though we were students with very limited knowledge. I think by the end of that semester I had mastered the art of the bed bath. During that first rotation, I shadowed a nurse who had worked on that same unit for thirty years. She encouraged me to speak to the patients and ask her questions about anything I noticed. I asked her about how she schedules her day, how she chooses what assessments to perform on the patients, and so many other questions. She answered every single question with eagerness, willing to share her knowledge.

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Second semester, so far had been fantastic. Population health and pediatrics were the best moments of my clinical experience. Waking up the morning of my first day of population health clinical, I knew I would be greeted by familiarity. First, because I had spent time at Mommy & Me for service learning last semester. Secondly because I hoped to stay with the same kids from last semester. Despite this familiarity with Mommy and Me, Clarkston was starkly unfamiliar to me. We have only a few weeks and the thought of planning a substantive intervention slightly worried me because six weeks seemed too little. I thought: how would we do this? What was the main problem that they faced? How would we help ameliorate all the health issues that this community faced daily? I knew the answer to that question already. We simply could not. At least – not in the time span that we have. However, I know that we could think of something that can, at least for the time being, address some of the health issues. At the end of my session, we made home visits to the mothers to further assess the health needs of the community. They were a source of inspiration and bounding resilience that could only be gained by personal experience. In the end, we worked on educating the mothers on health insurance and how to renew benefits for their children.

Overall I have learned that health care is so multi-faceted. The multi-dimensional approaches to health that we have taken in my clinical experience have surpassed my expectations. I look forward to next year and the future where I can learn more and achieve more.

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Isai Flores is a third year student at Emory, in the school of nursing, pursing his BSN. He is a Gates Millennium Scholar and a BUNDLE Scholar.

Population health

Alex King, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

My name is Alex King, and I am a junior BSN candidate. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and I started my college career at Georgia College and State University and transferred to Emory University for the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. For my community health rotation, I was fortunate enough to work with Dr. Phan at the Atlanta Housing Authority site. For this clinical rotation, we focused on identifying health disparities within the community then planned interventions accordingly. We identified social anxiety as the major health disparity among the population. We conducted a literature review and found that group therapy was very beneficial for people with social anxiety, so we decided to hold a session for them. I decided to take on the responsibility of leading this intervention. I had never conducted a group therapy session before, so I did some research and found out that the best way to conduct the group therapy session is to come up with discussion questions beforehand. I came up with “would you rather” questions such as “would you rather pause time or go back in time.” I thought that these would be fun and light way to get the ball rolling, but little did I know they would become heart-opening questions that would create new friendships. When I started the group therapy session, I was very nervous about how it would go and whether people would have a hard time opening up. Almost immediately once I started asking the would you rather questions people began opening-up. It was amazing how deep people got in answering the questions. When I asked them the question about pausing time or going back in time, it allowed people to reminisce with each other about the good times they had in the past when they were younger. What I found to be even more beneficial was when they started to talk about past life events that were hard for them or things they regretted. This then created a scenario where they started to support each other. When someone said that they lost their job, it instantly created an environment where people supported that individual in realizing what a good learning experience it was. They concluded that hos job loss created a life experience that allowed him to realize that if he could overcome that, he could overcome anything. This went on for more than an hour, and I ended up having to stop the session because it went over time. I would have never dreamed of this hour group therapy session being so productive, especially with having no experience beforehand. It made me realize how productive and beneficial it is to go into a community and provide services based on the needs of the population. This has given me a taste of how awesome it is to assess a community, prioritize their health disparities, research the issue, plan outcomes, and see the results that come from these outcomes and the wonderful benefits that follow. I am so glad that I got to do my public health clinical with the AHA, my Emory Nursing peers, and Dr. Phan.

It’s a PA, It’s a MD, … um it’s a NURSE!

The journey to becoming a nurse was rather unconventional for me. I knew when I began started at Emory College that I wanted to do something that involved being around people, making a difference, and a change of pace every now and then. My experience may be a little different from my fellow colleagues because I transitioned from Emory College to the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. My first week was filled with orientation and getting a feel of the college. We had orientation leaders and small group discussion among first-year students. The first few questions were aimed at getting to know one another.

“What is everyone’s perspective major or career track?”

I honestly did not know and I assumed that a few people did not know as well. We were a group of 12, so I was interested to hear what others wanted to do in the future. As everyone went around the circle all I heard was ‘I want to be a doctor.’ This was then followed by someone who said that they assumed that’s how the rest of the circle felt like. I was surprised not because of my peer’s response, but of my orientation leaders lack to facilitate the conversation in a more neutral light. However, this was not a problem that simply remained in my first few weeks of college, but the mindset that if you were not doing medicine then you were doing public health followed me until I came across nursing.

A friend of mine who was thinking about pursuing nursing invited me to sit in on one of their lectures. It was the end of freshman year and I was in a crisis because I simply had no idea what I wanted to do, so I said to myself, “why not?” The lecture we decided to audit was a Patho course and I was hooked as soon as class started. The professor was engaging and even though the class was three hours time seemed to fly. She was not only engaging but showed so much passion for the course that I wanted to take it. Soon after I had a chance to talk to a few of the students and they told me about the ups and downs of nursing school. I appreciated how open and honest they were being with a complete stranger. By the time I left I had made a decision. I was going to pursue nursing as a career because it had so much to offer.

You are probably wondering about my title. This post represents my journey to nursing school and the wall society automatically puts up because you are a nurse. My mom was not against it, but she proceeded to ask me if I was going to use this as an opportunity to go to med school. A few people who I tell that I am a nursing student ask me the same thing. I’m not mad about this, but simply sad that the career does not get the recognition and appreciation that others do simply because of the lack of knowledge most people have about the profession. I honestly do not blame anyone for that. If you are a Grey’s Anatomy fanatic and all that you know about health care is what you see on TV, then I fully expect misconceptions about the roles in a real hospital.

As people I interact with have gained greater exposure to the life of a nursing student, I have seen their appreciation and also respect for my career choice. One of the most memorable days I think a future nurse ever experiences is when a patient truly thanks them for saving their life. Those are the moments I live for. Those moments are what give me the satisfaction that I will someday be a nurse.

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Gloria Alafe is a BSN junior as well as a BUNDLEs Scholar who looks forward towards embracing the diverse field of nursing. Her interest includes pediatric ICU as well as generational PTSD.

Triumph Over Limitations

Jordan Waites, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

My name is Jordan Waites. I am a Junior in the traditional BSN program. I am an active member of Emory Global Health Nursing Association, Global Medical Missions Alliance, Emory Student Nurses Association, and BUNDLE scholar. I have always enjoyed aiding underserved populations through various volunteer opportunities. I have served in rural areas of New Mexico, Alaska, and Peru. Additionally, I have volunteered at Mommy & Me Family Literacy Program with Friends of Refugees in Clarkston, Georgia. After observing the needs of these populations, my long-term goal is to provide compassionate patient care in the mission field. I am grateful for the opportunities provided by Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing because volunteer work is a true passion of mine. When I found out about an opportunity to volunteer at a weekend camp for families with high-functioning children on the autism spectrum, I felt led to offer my time. I personally felt passionately about this opportunity because I have an adult brother who struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome. I have witnessed society’s negative attitude towards my brother. He is a happy, unsuspecting young man who wants to be accepted. I realize the importance of unconditional love, compassion, and the need for positive collaboration between families and counselors.

As a volunteer “Family Pal,” my task during the weekend camp was to assist families with activities. This allowed me to work very closely with children on the spectrum as well as their family members. As I was exposed to various families, I noticed that although many of the children were on the high-functioning end of the spectrum, they were all unique. Each of them had different struggles and concerns. Many could verbally communicate, whereas some only used 2-3 word sentences. Some could implement problem-solving, however, others experienced anxiety during activity. Throughout the weekend, I heard the quote, “When you meet one child with autism, you only meet ONE child with autism,” and I could not agree more with the statement. The struggles of one child could be another’s strength and vice versa. I learned through my camp experience that children and adults on the autism spectrum require personalized care. I believe that this knowledge is vital to understand as children and adults continue to be diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

I could not be happier that I took advantage of the opportunity that was provided to me by the School of Nursing. I am sure that many of the families who attended are very pleased that they were given the opportunity as well. On the final day of camp, a mother shared with me that her daughter recently had trouble with peers at school. The child would pull her hair out due to frustration and anxiety and children at school would question and mock her. The mother explained to me that camp was an opportunity for her daughter to be around other children who may struggle with the same difficulties. She expressed that the weekend camp was a safe place for her child to triumph over her struggles. In a similar way, volunteering at a weekend camp was a wonderful opportunity for me to step back from the stress of exams and deadlines in nursing school. It was a unique experience that enabled me to make a positive impact in the lives of others. Individuals with disabilities often are stigmatized, encountering not only physical barriers in daily

Individuals with disabilities often are stigmatized, encountering not only physical barriers in daily life but also emotional barriers. Loved ones cannot always protect them from subtle forms of discrimination and prejudice. School-age children with disabilities often have negative school experiences related to their disability. I understand the support families need and the importance of empathetic care. As a nurse, I look forward to providing support and helping families create a positive environment, focusing on their child’s aspirations instead of their limitations.

SGA President: Making Leadership Fun

Stefka Mentor, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar, Junior Class President

Hi everyone! My name is Stefka Mentor and I am a junior in the traditional BSN cohort. I am originally from New York but I completed my first two years of undergraduate here at Emory University. I am almost finished with my first year of nursing school, and it has been my hardest year yet. Nursing school is difficult and different than anything I have ever experienced before, but it is also completely worth it. In this past year, I have met incredible faculty, amazing students, and even greater nurses. I have been exposed to new ideas, new personalities and new ways of thinking. However, my greatest accomplishment and favorite part of nursing school is serving as SGA president for my cohort.

I was elected to serve as President in September and have been working hard with my board to make nursing school as fun and manageable for our fellow classmates as much as we possibly can. As president one of my key roles is serving as a liaison between the students and the faculty. I work hard to communicate the concerns and needs of my classmates to professors in hopes that they can be resolved and that a common ground can be reached. This is unlike any role I have or could have played while a student in the college. I get to directly interact with faculty, I get to know all my classmates and truly get to be a leader. Professors listen to the concerns of students and they are continuously working to better our experience. To have such an active role in this betterment is honestly a blessing.

Another one of my key roles as president, and my favorite role, is planning fun, destressing events for the cohort. In the fall, my board and I planned an ornament decorating event, where the students came out decorated ornaments of their choice, got to keep a free Emory Nursing phone wallet, and enjoyed delicious hot chocolate and hot cider. The students loved it. They were happy to take some time out of their busy, stressful day to enjoy a cup of hot cider and color. I was happy to see their faces. Just this past month, my board and I planned a buffet lunch for the cohort as nice way to welcome Spring. The students were surprised but so excited. Some students forgot to pack lunch that day, so they were so happy to learn they didn’t have to spend any money and they had a hot meal waiting for them.  I couldn’t stop smiling. There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing my classmates relaxed, socializing, and happy to be at the school of nursing. The events we plan, give them that.

Before coming to nursing school, leadership seemed like a chore or a duty. It seemed as if it wasn’t something someone choose to do, but rather something they had to do. I learned quickly, that I was wrong. Leadership is a choice and it’s the best choice I have made. I wanted to be SGA president, I wanted to make my peers happy and I wanted to make their experience here at the school of nursing fun and everything they want it to be. There is nothing about being a leader that feels like a hassle but instead it’s enjoyable. Nursing school is hard but getting to serve as president makes up for it.

How Nursing School Showed Me a Difference World

Elizabeth Balogun, BSN Class of 2017, BUNDLE Scholar

Whenever I get the question “Why did you choose nursing school?”, I almost always respond with my usual, “You know, it just kind of happened.” That question takes me back a bit and makes me think about why I chose nursing and how I got here. Occasionally I even think back to an information session where we were presented with the wide varieties of undergraduate studies at Emory. I remember that I turned to my friend, and laughed at the idea of becoming a nurse. Although it often feels like nursing school was just something that just happened to me, I sure am glad that it happened. I am glad that I tagged along with my friend to a pre-nursing club “Meet the Juniors” event that got me thinking about nursing school. I am glad that this profession, that is rooted in caring, found me.On my very first day of classes in nursing school I hoped and prayed that I had made the right decision, and I have found over the course of my four semesters here that I am indeed in the right place. I did not know much about public or global health or the role of nurses in those settings until I got to nursing school. I did know, even before nursing school, that I would like to spend my career providing care in any way I could to anyone who needs it. As a scholar in the Building Nursing’s Diverse Leadership at Emory (BUNDLE) program I have learned about public health nursing, the need for cultural diversity and awareness in nursing and nursing care, and being a nurse leader and a force for change. Between my classes and my BUNDLE experience I found that I wanted to be a public or global health nurse. My alternative winter break trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica (which I was on the fence about going to) really confirmed that for me.Upon arrival in Montego Bay, we were on the road and ready to take on our first project a few hours after arriving. I had never been happier and filled with a greater sense of fulfillment while immensely exhausted as I was on this trip. We were gone from early in the morning to late at night setting up clinics in churches, teaching reproductive health, doing yoga with hearing impaired students and so much more. One of many profound moments for me was when a man who had visited our church clinic came back with a bunch of plantains for a student who had taken his blood pressure to show thanks for the care he received. Our clinic on that day simply offered blood pressure and glucose checks, BMI calculation, some health education, and a few incentives such as anti-fungal cream and reading glasses. These are things that do not seem like much to us in the United States, but a farmer in rural Jamaica valued these simple things so much that he was willing to give us his produce as a token of appreciation.This experience solidified my goal to become a public/global health nurse. It reminded me that there are people around the world, and even in the United States, who do not have the resources that we take for granted. Whenever I think back to the experience, I want to continue to strive toward the goal of sharing the skills and knowledge that I have been fortunate enough to gain through my nursing school experience and training. I want to use these skills to empower others around the world to take charge of their health. I hope to continue to learn and push myself as an individual and a nurse from my experiences with the diverse groups of people I encounter.

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Elizabeth Balogun is a BSN 2017 student and a BUNDLE scholar. She is from Lawrenceville, Georgia and hopes to become a public/global health nurse providing care for low resource and underserved populations around the world.

My Experience in Moultrie

Alejandra Del Rocio Mendez, BSN, BUNDLE Scholar

During the month of June 2016, I began my journey as part of the Farm Worker Family Health Program with 14 amazing classmates, nurse practitioner students from Emory, and with students from dental hygiene, physical therapy, and pharmacy programs in Georgia. Located in the South part of the state, Moultrie is a small town home to such appreciative migrant farm workers and children, and generous people who volunteered to provide us with breakfast and lunch, supplies, donations for the farm workers and children, and a place to stay. As part of the Farm Worker Family Health Program, which sends nursing students to Moultrie every year, our goal was to work with an interdisciplinary team and to use the skills and knowledge we learned in our public health, health assessment, and rural health courses and from our clinicals in order to provide health care to a population who faces limited access to care and experiences difficulty overcoming language barriers.

For two weeks, our schedule went as follows: visiting the local elementary school every morning Monday through Friday from 8am until 12 noon, having lunch at a local church around 1pm, resting from 4 to 6pm, and then preparing to go to night camp every afternoon Monday through Thursday from 7pm to midnight and set up mobile stations at local farm camps. Every morning, we drove in carpool groups to Cox Elementary School which was about a five minute drive from the hotel where we were staying at. There, we set up auditory, vision, blood glucose and hemoglobin, height/weight/BMI, and blood pressure stations in order to screen children part of the Migrant Farm Worker summer school program. The purpose of screening each child was to complete a Georgia 3300 public health form so that these kids would have the opportunity to enroll in school if they were to move to a county due to migrant family circumstances. We took turns gathering groups of children and taking them to the nurse practitioners, dental hygienists, or physical therapists for them to receive their check-ups.

In the late afternoon, we prepared for night camp by gathering our flashlights and head lights, spraying ourselves from head to toe in mosquito repellant, and practicing some phrases in Spanish to communicate well with our clients. Our trip began by caravanning to the farm camp for that night. At arrival, we set up tents with stations for intake, blood pressure, hemoglobin and blood glucose, height/weight/BMI, and foot care, while the nurse practitioners, dental hygienists, pharmacists, physical therapists, and research students set up their own tables. Nursing students were paired with one or two more nursing students in the group and assigned to a different station each night, so we each had a chance at each station. Believe it or not, my favorite station was foot care. I enjoyed the time I spent with each of the clients and the opportunities to talk to them in Spanish. One thing I enjoyed doing was adding humor to my conversations to help the farm workers feel relaxed and less embarrassed about a nursing student taking care of their feet. Additionally, I took the time to assist the nurse practitioners, dental hygienists, pharmacists, and physical therapists with interpretation since I am fluent in Spanish. During this experience, it was important to note that the care we provide to the migrant farm workers and their families might have been the only health care they receive throughout the year.  For me, it was important to communicate well with the clients to make sure we gathered the correct information to assess, diagnose, and educate. There were several moments during my time in Moultrie when the farm workers came up to tell my classmates and I how grateful they were for all that we were doing for them and the time and effort we dedicated to help them.

An exciting part of my Moultrie experience was the opportunity to experience being out in the fields to pick out vegetables for ourselves. Going into the fields and picking out vegetables opened my eyes and increased my awareness of the importance of the work by the migrant farm workers. Since this experience, I have not forgetten where my food comes from and who picked it, and have thanked farm workers for their important job.

My time in Moultrie was a lifetime experience as I made new friends, met some hardworking and humble workers, and gave to a population who provides so much to us. Moultrie holds a special place in my heart. Honestly, I wish I could have been there much longer, and hopefully one day, I will have the opportunity to return and do much more. The need for healthcare services is so great in this area and with this population and it brought such a warm feeling to my heart to be able to share a laugh with the farm workers and with the kids despite the life situations they must face. My experience with the Farm Worker Family Health program has been very rewarding and very meaningful, because it proved to me that engaging in a nursing career was the best decision I have made.

An experience in public health — Alternative winter break in Nicaragua

Ali Martin, BSN Class of 2017, BUNDLE Scholar

As a Building Undergraduate Nursing’s Diverse Leadership at Emory Scholar (BUNDLES), I have been given many opportunities to be immersed in public health seminars, lectures, and value adds. This program prepared me for my alternative winter break trip to Nicaragua in December where I was able to serve a vulnerable population in need. I traveled to a city in Nicaragua called Rivas, where I rotated with my peers through their local public hospital. We learned how their health care system worked and how they cared for their patients.

In my first day in the hospital, I was humbled by how privileged we are in the United States when it comes to our health care system. I watched the nurses in Rivas use all the resources they had — which were not many, in order to give the best quality care to their patients. For example, the nurses used gloves as tourniquets, rather than protective personal equipment. They also used leftover medication vials as specimen collectors for urine and stool samples. I watched them perform these tasks and admired the depths they went to when caring for their patients.

The nurse to patient ratio was nearly 1:10 and the nurses worked hard to attend to each patient in a timely manner. With minimum resources available, the nurses shared blood pressure cuffs and thermometers. Unfortunately, the equipment was hardly ever sanitized between use as there was barely enough solutions to clean the equipment in the proper aseptic manner. Although this hospital suffered from a lack of resources, the nurses and health care providers always put their patients first and made sure that they received the best quality of care. They had the biggest hearts and were so eager to teach us with their knowledge and about their health care system. I appreciated their kindness and helped in any way I could.

We spent the first two days in Rivas at the local hospital. After that, we traveled to a small, rural community called El Tambo that invited us to educate them on health care in the United States. We decided to focus on screening and prevention of common diseases that had the highest incidence in their specific population.

We arrived that afternoon and I thought we were just making a stop on the side of the road when our bus suddenly pulled over. I was taken aback when I realized that we were actually in El Tambo. The homes were small shacks with no electricity or running water, however this was home to them and they would have it no other way. They greeted us all with kind smiles and were genuinely happy to have us in their community. They brought us to the local “church” which was just a pavilion with a small stage. We broke off into groups and each took turns presenting the screening material we prepared before the trip. My group focused on breast cancer self exams, because the community had asked us to teach them about breast cancer prevention. We educated them on the pathophysiology of cancer and then went on to show them how to properly perform a breast self exam. They demonstrated back on how to do the breast self exams themselves and we finished our presentation filling fulfilled that we had taught them something new that would benefit their health for the future.

The other groups presented on other common disease processes like diabetes and hypertension. The community and families were so grateful that we were there that they prepared us a homemade meal that was commonly made in their village. We were almost in tears from their generosity. They purified the water so we could drink it, and then they sat back and watched us eat, not even eating themselves.

This trip taught me a lot about the importance of public health, not only in the United States, but also in other countries. Primary and secondary prevention efforts are vital in keeping populations healthy wherever it may be in the world. I will take this experience and what I learned from it throughout my entire nursing career.

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Ali Martin is a graduating BSN senior from Blue Ridge, Georgia. In addition to being a BUNDLE scholar, she is involved on campus in organizations such as Atlanta Pediatric Cancer Outreach and as a peer mentor for the School of Nursing.