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Students Without Borders

Nursing students Marjorie Peguero '12 and Julia Bowler '12 recently returned from the Netherlands, where they participated in a student exchange program.  Peguero (pictured second from left in the accompanying photo) says every nursing student should experience this type of exchange. “I learned about nursing history from around the world, how to be culturally sensitive to patients and peers, became more interested in evidence-based research, learned key aspects of how to manage a group of people who have different views on the world to achieve a common goal and I came home with a new perspective on the field of nursing; my passion for becoming a nurse has intensified.”  A highlight of the trip was a team exercise in which Peguero was grouped with fellow nursing students from Germany and Turkey and asked to put together a puzzle.  Multicultural groups needed to overcome language barriers as well as preconceived notions of each other. 

According to Bowler, "The experience I had in Utrecht Summer School opened my eyes to the many different healthcare systems, presenting both positive and negative aspects of healthcare in the U.S. and around the globe. I also had the opportunity to meet people from many cultures and created lifelong friendships."

PA students recently returned from international rotations in India and Ecuador.

Kristin Lieber had an extraordinary experience in Dehradun, India and hopes to practice international medicine in the future.  Kristin spent two weeks in a government hospital where as many as 100 patients per hour were seen, confined to a small room with minimal privacy.  Her rural exposure involved travel to villages on foot, at times hiking for close to 3 hours to provide basic healthcare.  Students carried medical equipment and pharmaceuticals; they established makeshift clinics on outdoor plastic tables.  During one of the remote village trips, Kristin started an IV on a patient in a room without electricity, using a flashlight to locate the vein.

Lauren Cardinal worked in another region of India, and says her experience taught her volumes about medicine and ultimately herself. “Entering a land that's overpopulated with people and in short supply of everything else makes one realize how fortunate we are here in the U.S. and reinforces one's appreciation for all that is available to us. This experience affirmed that I made the right choice to enter the wide, ever changing world of medicine.”

PA students Maria Bosch, Dominique Igoe, and Jaime Bortolotti worked in Ecuador.  Bosch worked on the labor and delivery floor of a public hospital and said, “It was interesting to see how drastically different the birthing process is for some of these young girls compared to what we see in the U.S.  No private rooms, no husbands or family members helping to coach them through, and no pain-killers!” Igoe says, “In Quito and the surrounding areas, healthcare facilities operate on the bare minimum with old equipment.” She observed run-down facilities and practitioners who had to reuse gloves for multiple patients.  She says, “I often discovered that rather than prescribe multiple expensive and confusing medications, the physicians compassionately encourage feasible lifestyle and diet changes with great outcomes for the patients.  Not only has the international experience made me fully appreciate all that we have in this country, but it has also taught me that it is still possible to successfully treat patients without it.”  Bortolotti (pictured in the center in the accompanying photo) agrees, saying, “From this experience I have learned ways to provide quality health care with limited resources.”