Posted: Monday, June 25th 2012 at 7:27pm
NGCSU nursing group completes service in Dominican Republic
DAHLONEGA - Faculty and students of the nursing program at North Georgia College & State University (NGCSU) have completed a week-long service trip to the Dominican Republic, aiding Rivers of the World, a Dawsonville-based international ministry group, by providing medical treatment to impoverished people throughout the region surrounding La Romana, the country’s third-largest city.
“The students had to problem-solve and use their critical thinking skills to tackle the challenges that each day and a new setting presented,” Dr. Elaine Taylor, administrative nursing coordinator, said. “They learned so many lessons that will help them as they continue their nursing careers.”
The group served 496 patients during the week, setting up clinics in five bateyes—villages populated by sugar cane workers. The clinics included a deworming station, a check-in/triage station, an eyeglass station, four to five medical treatment stations, a dental station, a family planning station, and a pharmacy.
“Sugar cane was being harvested while the team was there, which gave everyone an even greater appreciation for the physical demands that the people in the bateyes endure while living in impoverished conditions,” Taylor said.
Allison Clapp, who earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing at North Georgia and is now pursuing a master’s degree in nursing with a concentration as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), said that most of the patients the group worked with were Haitians who traveled to the Dominican Republic. She added that the Haitians are largely unaccepted and oppressed in the Dominican Republic, but stay there anyway because it is still better than living in Haiti.
“This experience has been incredibly valuable to be both personally and professionally,” Clapp said. “I have a goal to be professionally and culturally competent, and with my plans to be an FNP in a rural area, this opportunity for rural cultural immersion was critical for my advancement toward that goal.”
Dr. Regena Spratling, associate professor of nursing, noted that North Georgia’s Center for Global Engagement (CGE) has been pivotal in providing cultural immersion experiences such as this trip.
“Any level of student should take cultural immersion courses,” Clapp said. “It changed and inspired all of us as well as giving us a deeper understanding of a different culture and ourselves.”
Four of the nursing students are in the FNP graduate program, and received clinical credit for patient care contact during the trip. The five undergraduate nursing students received college credit for a healthcare cultural immersion course.
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