Sixteen junior nursing students are providing care to the population of Costa Rica this week as part of the global seminar spring semester nursing course, "Community and Public Health." Professors Margaret Carson and Pamela Preston-Safarz are accompanying the students, and will team-teach the course, exploring the role of nurses in health promotion and disease prevention globally.
"This study abroad clinical experience will allow students to apply lecture content in a global clinical setting," says Professor Preston-Safarz. "The area we are working in Costa Rica has a very high unemployment rate and a large portion of immigrants living in poverty. Students will be working within these developing communities to conduct in-home assessments to determine the need for health services and provide referrals to community medical services."
Upon their return to the classroom, students will not only discuss public health issues, such as the global health care environment, but will also examine sociocultural influences such as immigration and access to health care. This year is the first that this course has included an international clinical component.
Hannah Glover '18 shared the following reflection on Monday evening, describing the experience that students have had during their first few days.
We are all having an amazing time here in Costa Rica. It has easily been the most amazing experience and opportunity I have ever been able to participate in. We have gone home to home in communities with houses made out of cardboard, metal scraps, and old wood. There is no heat or clean water, floors are made of mud, and most of these people have no health insurance.
Despite these living conditions, everyone here in Costa Rica is in the best spirits and excited to see us. Every person in the community has opened their doors to us with open arms and allowed us to sit with them and assess their health needs. The most heartwarming part for me, was when our team leader Abdi from ISL, explained the people from the community would dress up in their finest clothes to come to our free clinic. And that they did.
I have never been so proud to call myself an Anselmian, and I know my peers feel the same way.
It has been challenging to piece together various languages and critical thinking skills to properly assess and treat patients, however, working together as Anselmian student nurses has proven just how much our program truly prepares us for any situation we may be placed in.
I am cherishing my time here in Costa Rica and have already decided that I must come back to this beautiful country. A common phrase used in Costa Rica is "Pura Vida" or pure life, which is how Costa Ricans describe a great day. So far, I have spent every day living Pura Vida in the beautiful country of Costa Rica!