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Columbia College of Nursing students joined Hope Without Borders in Nicaragua

In June 2016, seven undergraduate Columbia College of Nursing (CCON) students accompanied President Jill Berg to Nicaragua for a week-long service learning trip. The CCON group teamed up with two faculty members and 10 graduate nurse practitioner students from Concordia University Wisconsin. The trip was organized by an organization called Hope Without Borders.

While in Nicaragua, the team visited several villages, schools, and a hospital. They set up temporary clinics, where the undergraduate and graduate students worked side-by-side to provide primary and urgent care for residents of the various communities. The students provided services such as first aid, physical examinations, urine tests, pregnancy tests, blood sugar measures, and other health monitoring.

Students and faculty members collected and delivered medications, clothing, shoes, eye glasses, and toys for the residents who visited the clinic. Each day, the team set up stations, delivered services, and then packed up everything for the following day. They saw approximately 1,000 residents during the week in Nicaragua.

The students learned first-hand about the health disparities in Nicaragua. One student wrote:

“The trip to Nicaragua lit a fire in me to think more about ways to eliminate global health disparities. When we were touring the neighborhoods, and even just driving around the cities, I felt extremely privileged to have access to all of the things I have at my fingertips in the United States. I found it heartbreaking when I realized that Nicaraguans at the medical camps did not know what it meant to have an indoor bathroom. It was also extremely hard to watch and hear about these people who only have access to dirty, infested water, but have no choice but to consume it.”

The trip was truly transformational for all of the participants.