Nursing program takes spring break outreach trip to Guatemala

May 2, 2016

Nursing Guatemala 1For several years now, the nursing program at Northwest Florida State College has offered an opportunity for nursing students in the bachelor (RN to BSN) and associate degree programs to travel to Guatemala. The trip is educational for both students and faculty and allows students to contribute to a healthcare delivery system that is different than the one in the United States.

The RN to BSN nursing students provided health educational programs to underserved women and children. With the help of a translator, the participants received information focusing on prevention. Additionally, these undergraduate students complete a family assessment assignment, which is challenging when the home is a one- or two-bedroom metal structure and all communication goes through a translator.

All of the students were able to go to a public hospital as well as participate in an outpatient public health clinic. The system of healthcare delivery is dramatically different than the U.S. system, but a key takeaway from the trip was the dedication of nursing staff in the Guatemalan facilities to provide the best care to their patients with their existing resources.

The American Nurses’ Association’s theme for National Nurses’ Week (May 6-12) focuses on culturally congruent care, recognizing the importance of nurses to “reflect on understanding the values and beliefs” we bring to our interactions with patients. The NWF State College nursing students who participated in the outreach program in Guatemala truly have added to their value and belief system.

Nursing Guatemala 2

Those who went on the trip were nursing faculty members Dr. Marty Walker, Dr. Beth Norton, and Dr. Elizabeth Robison; RN to BSN students Anabell Nearhoff, Jessica Parkin, Haley Wester and Heather Wright; and associate degree students Courtney Barrow, Britney Bissereth, Lisa Cotter and Kathryn Swoboda.



TOP PHOTO: RN to BSN student Jessica Parkin provides dental health education to the children with the help of a translator, Damaris.

BOTTOM PHOTO: Associate-level students Lisa Cotter and Courtney Barrow and Professor of Nursing Dr. Elizabeth Robison (right) are shown with two of the clinic nurses in the immunization section of the public health clinic.