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Columbia College of Nursing students embrace service learning opportunity

In June, nine Columbia College of Nursing (CCON) nursing students, president Jill Berg, and clinical associate professor Barb Brenzel traveled to New Orleans to volunteer their time with the House of Charity.  The house is run by the Sisters of Charity Federation, whose mission is to care for those who are poor and marginalized.  They commit to the energy of love, the gifts and talents of the members of the community, and material and spiritual resources to collaborate in creating systemic changes locally and globally for the common good of all.
The students embraced this mission during their time in New Orleans. Students spent time volunteering at a local clinic and at two homeless facilities; they hosted blood pressure screenings at the Ozanam Inn, and they washed feet of the homeless and provided new socks at the Lantern Light.  The students also spent time visiting the “Lower 9th,” the area most devastated by Hurricane Katrina.  Although the storm passed ten years ago, the area continues to be in need.
While in New Orleans, students encountered a very different healthcare system.  One student shared, “I quickly realized that many people there were experiencing barriers to good health because of personal or external factors.  There was a lack of shelter, nutrition, transportation, hygiene, education, and health insurance due to economic factors.  The whole trip was very eye-opening and impactful; it has inspired me to advocate for social justice and further develop my professional persona.”
Students learned more about themselves and experiences of others living under very different conditions, and reflected on how those differences will affect their roles as nurses.  CCON strives for students to be advocates for social justice and stresses the importance of providing equal care to all populations regardless of situation or status.