Rudy School Nursing Students Journeyed to Mexico Over the Holidays. Beth Chatham, assistant professor of nursing, gives her perspective on the students’ experiential learning trip:
Over Christmas break, seven nursing students from Cumberland traveled to Mexico for a service learning experience. This trip was the practicum of their Transcultural Nursing course. Students had the opportunity to do home visits, perform public health surveys, and work with community nurses in providing diabetic, hypertension, and immunization screenings in homes. The students spent one morning at the public hospital. The nurses at the hospital pulled us into their routine work, giving us a chance to not only tour, but also work. In addition, the students provided two days of clinic in the neighborhood where they had done the community assessments. In the clinics they were able to use their physical assessment skills; and working with a local physician, provide much needed medicine to clients.
Cultural experiential learning is always a give and take. The students had a chance to give needed services to a very poor community. And we took away some life-changing experiences. We were touched by the generosity of people in the barest of homes; welcoming us and providing us with the one seat available. We enjoyed the warmth of a culture where we received a hug from the women after checking their blood pressure. Students were impressed and grateful for the fact that absolutely every person we worked with wanted to teach or show them something new. We had the added benefit of being in Mexico during the Christmas season. We were invited to a Christmas party at the mission, complete with a Nativity pageant, piñata, pozole supper, and lots and lots of kids. Now that’s the Spirit of Christmas!