Colorado Mesa nursing students head to Nicaragua to help in hospitals, clinics

Ten Colorado Mesa University students and three of their professors leave today for a 10-day trip to provide medical care in Nicaragua.

This is the university’s second-annual trip to Nicaragua to volunteer in hospitals and rural areas where poverty and access block many from receiving sufficient health care. Students went to Ecuador to provide the same services in 2011.

Students will spend at least one day at a hospital in the city of Esteli and at least two days providing care at field clinics in various places around the city, including at a dump where people scavenge for items to sell or use.

“It will be an eye-opener for all of us,” said CMU Assistant Professor of Nursing and trip coordinator Beverly Lyne.

The nine nursing students going on the trip will provide patients with information about common conditions in Nicaragua, including diabetes and hypertension, and check patients’ vital signs and blood sugar levels. Patients will have access to dentists and physicians as well. 

A mass communications student who is going on the trip will help the other students document the trip for a blog at nicatrip13.wordpress.com and record parts of the tour. The resulting videos will be made into a documentary that will likely be shown in September at a Wednesday Night Wanderings event on campus. Nursing students will present a slideshow at the event as well.

Although students and professors plan to stock their checked luggage with donated supplies ranging from gloves to glucose meters, Lyne said the trip is more about providing care than supplies. She estimates the group will donate 500 hours of health care.

Each traveler had to raise about $2,700 to go on the trip, but much of that money was raised this year through a partnership with Telluride Ski Resort. The resort sold three-day passes for $125 and donated $20 from each pass to the trip fund.

Lyne said the trip will benefit Nicaraguan patients in need but also provide a valuable learning experience for students. She said past students have learned empathy and appreciation for other cultures and people who speak other languages. The trip also can prepare future nurses for a wealth of international aid opportunities they can seek after graduation.


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