Baltimore. Canton. Africa. India. Central America.
The possibilities - and hopes - of where to practice after graduation are endless for a handful of senior nursing majors.
But one thing these 10 students know for sure is that they are better prepared for wherever they will choose to practice because of a particular experience they’ve had in their education. Last summer, they participated in cross-cultural service-learning trip to Honduras, where they had the opportunity to observe – and experience firsthand – the medical practices of another nation.
Emily Johnson ’12 says it was life-changing to gain an understanding of what it’s like to practice medicine in Honduras. “We were observing/volunteering at a maternity clinic, and I was asked to sew an ear back on someone who’d had an accident,” she says. “Even though it was a ‘maternity’ clinic, the doctor there does everything because it’s the only medical facility in the area.”
Caleb Celuch ’12 experienced the medical system firsthand after having an allergic reaction to a raw cashew (three team members learned the hard way that the nuts in that form are poisonous).
“One of the most powerful lessons I learned on the trip was ‘Dios es Grande,’ which means ‘God is big,’” Caleb says. “That was a saying they had there – there are so many disparities in the Honduran system… but the doctors and nurses do everything they can to improve the lives of the people they serve, and they use everything they have to work with. After they have used every resource they have, they put up their hands and say, ‘Dios es Grande,’ ‘God is big.’ I really respect them for that.”
Julie Hooley, one of the trip’s leaders and the director of the School of Nursing and Health Education’s Center for Study and Testing, adds that one lesson the team learned that there are ways for people of other cultures to connect, even when they can’t speak the same language.
“Health was a really great way for us to connect with the Hondurans,” she says. “It put us all on the same plane. One scene I will always remember is of Caleb in the ER. I remember thinking, ‘Are they giving him the right medicines? The right dosages?’ And they were – they were – they took wonderful care of him.”
At Malone, nursing students experience a wide variety of clinicals that give them experience in all realms of medical care. They also are required to take two 400-level courses of both Cross-Cultural Nursing – both a theory class and an application that includes 45 clock hours of cultural observation.
The general education curriculum also requires a cross cultural component for all Malone University graduates.