Students Learn Valuable Lessons Through Medical Trip to Nicaragua

June 7th, 2016.

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Robert Morris University is a large university based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Recently, a group of nursing students have returned home to their dorm rooms and library study nooks after spending a week in Nicaragua on an educational learning trip. Students groups make this trip around 2-3 times a year. The program is headed by Dr. Carl Ross. He has been taking students to Nicaragua for over 10 years now.

Nursing is a multifaceted education program to learn, and the trip to Nicaragua reflects this. Of course students get to make use of the nursing knowledge they have learned from books and in classrooms, but they also gain a different type of knowledge that can’t be taught from any book or lecture.

During their time in Nicaragua, students work closely with the families they are providing care to. In the mornings, students will meet with and care for families, doing things like physical exams, developmental exams and environmental assessments. They use this information to come up with a teaching project for their family. In the afternoon, the building is converted into a primary care clinic, and students provide real health care to local residents.

Getting to know the people they are providing care for is crucial for nursing students. Every family has a different story and different circumstances, and it is important for students to learn to recognize the uniqueness of each family’s situation to provide ideal care.

One student summed up her experience by saying, “it taught me creativity and also just to be thankful for what I have and to be kind to people because you really never know what people are going through or what kind of situation they’re in, and I think as a nurse it’s really important not to judge people.” These are the sorts of lessons that one needs to live and learn themselves, and RMU nursing students are getting to do that in Nicaragua.

And the best part is that the program is very effective and has lasting results. “The students that go on these projects actually have proven statistically significant results of providing culturally competent care to their patients,” said Dr. Carl Ross in an interview after the return of the latest trip.

If you’d like to learn more about the medical trip to Nicaragua, there is an excellent video that has been put together highlighting the experiences of the students on the most recent trip. You’ll get to see where they were working, see some of the patients they were working with, and hear about the lessons learned from the students on the trip.

We’d like to thanks Dr. Carl Ross for his continued dedication to this program. The Nicaragua medical trips are always fulfilling for students and provide great care for the patients. They incorporate an aspect of nursing that can never be taught in a classroom, but that can only be learned by getting out into the field and meeting patients. Here is the video: