Students Encounter Joy Amid Suffering
| by MNU News firstname.lastname@example.org
Rather than take a well-deserved vacation during spring break, 16 MNU nursing students traveled to a Haitian orphanage that is home to 140 children. At Global Vision Citadelle Ministries orphanage in Mirebalais, Haiti, many of the ‘orphans’ still have living parents, but the parents cannot provide for them. Having a wonderful time together, the children and students enjoyed playing games and singing worship songs. Upon departure many students were sad to leave, having become quite attached to the children.
The students provided medical care to patients as young as 4 weeks old and as elderly as 109. Traveling from the orphanage to remote areas in the mountains, students set up mobile clinics in impoverished rural areas of Haiti. Under the direction of Kathleen Brewer, PhD, ARNP and Laurie Brooks, RN, MSN, students completed physical assessments and determined whether medication was appropriate to dispense. The students also performed patient education with the assistance of an interpreter.
The students treated a variety of problems such as skin infections, resulting from the use of dirty water and from insect bites, which are prolific in tropical areas. Many individuals suffered from malnutrition and an overall lack of health care. Much of the damage from the 2010 earthquake that devastated the nation is still present and made a somber impression on the students.
Remarking that their lives were changed by the experience, students were stunned by the level of abject poverty and that the Haitian people seemed content in spite of their circumstances.
It is literally impossible to prepare students for some of the experiences they had. For example, how does one give a child to an orphanage? It is difficult to understand until one learns that the fortunate children are the ones in the orphanage who get to go to school and are fed twice a day. In the villages, students worked with some children who eat every other day.
Nursing senior Kaley Flack sums up the experience.
“It is amazing that sometimes we have to get outside of our world to be able to gain a new perspective,” says Flack. “I would tell nursing students to go on a mission trip. It will change their nursing outlook and give them a greater sense of calling and purpose for the skills they have learned.”