International Experiences Call to Nurses
Earlier this month, an Otterbein faculty member and two nurse practitioner students traveled to the small Central American country of Belize to help staff a mission clinic that serves local residents who have no other source of health care services.
"Providing care in this setting allows students to enhance their subjective and objective skills. There is no lab or x-ray. In most cases, the history and exam are all that you have," said Margie Vogt, director of the NP/DNP programs. "The students learn new ways of providing care while providing service to a community in need."
David Buechner, RN, FNP student has been on previous medical missions to Mexico. "Even though I have done this before, it still inspires to want to do more," Buechne said. “A highlight of the trip was the opportunity to go to the villages to see where people live. With the rain that day and mud, the students gained a real appreciation of the hardships of such simple tasks as obtaining clean water, food and dry clothing, while living in a small home without electricity or running water.”
Chris Elliott, RN, FNP student has never been on an international medical mission. "This is my first trip, and I really saw that the world is a much bigger place than what I see every day. It gives you an appreciation of what you have, and what you give your children. When you see how happy the people you serve are even with so little, it inspires you to change your practices at home. I will definitely want to do this again,” he added.
Patients visited the clinic for a variety of reasons including treatment for acute infections such as otitis media or sinusitis or for management of chronic conditions such as hypertension or diabetes. The clinic also provided care to families who would present for a well-check exam since many months may have passed since they last saw a health care provider. Dr. Vogt and her students were joined by Dr. Andy Lee, a local family physician and his wife and two sons, and a group of ten undergraduate students from Indiana Wesleyan University.