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GAIN

GAIN is an open forum for the UCLA nursing community to enhance knowledge and participation in global health.   We welcome all undergraduate and graduate students and faculty who are interested in nursing abroad.

Global health nursing is a wonderful chance to help those in the greatest need of healthcare throughout the world.  We aim to create a space for globally minded nurses and students to learn, discuss, and act on healthcare inequities across borders.

We are always seeking opportunities to enrich the UCLA School of Nursing with international nursing experiences.  Share  your stories with us.

  

Panama: September 2013

In September 2013, a group of 7 UCLA nursing students (2 APN, 4 MECN, 1 BSN) joined the Floating Doctors (www.floatingdoctors.com) medical mission in Panama. The team collaborated with an international group of nursing students, medical students, advanced practice nurses, physicians, surgeons, ultrasound technicians, translators, and supporters. The team traveled by boat to organize clinics among the indigenous Ngobe communities across the Bocas del Toro province, including Bocas Torito, Kusapin, and Tierra Oscura. The team provided preventative health and primary care services among a varying population of pediatric, adult, and geriatric patients, and also conducted house-visits for patients who were unable to trek to the clinic site. The Floating Doctors clinic provided prescriptive eyeglasses, prenatal vitamins for expecting mothers, multivitamins for children, and an assortment of medicinal prescriptions for varying degrees of conditions ranging from scabies, leishmaniasis, gastrointestinal illness, diarrhea, and headaches secondary to dehydration. Overall, the students were able to practice and hone in on their nursing skills, explore diagnoses with physicians, and learn about the Ngobe people and understand how their way of life greatly intertwines with their health outcomes.

Karnataka, India: September 2013

In September 2013, a small team of UCLA nursing students (2 APN, 1 MECN student) traveled to Biligi Riranga Hills (BR Hills), a small hill range in southeast Karnataka, India. The team collaborated with a non-profit organization, Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra (VGKK), which services the hill tribes in the neighboring regions. VGKK has had a presence in the BR Hills region for over 30 years and has focused its mission on the sustainability of its tribal people by providing medical care, education, vocational training, and nature preservation. In particular, curative medical care has been slowly gaining acceptance over the years as it has been incorporated with more traditional Ayurvedic treatment. (website: http://www.vgkk.org/br-hills.php). This 10-day mission was split into two parts: The first half consisted of visiting local villages and traveling with the Mobile Medical Unit.  The purpose was to assess patients and refer them to the clinic or other units, depending on the acuity of their condition, which ranged from anemia and gastrointestinal diseases to mental illness. The second half consisted of assisting in their Primary Care Centers and First Referral Unit (Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care). The team worked with doctors, interns, and Auxilary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) for prenatal care and fetal assessments.
While the language barrier was a challenge, the team embraced the experience and learned much about India's healthcare system, culture, people, and food. It was truly an eye-opening and humbling experience.

Panama: Spring Break 2013

In March 2013, 1 PhD and 3 APN UCLA nursing students joined the Floating Doctors medical mission in Panama to work in remote Ngabe-Bugle indigenous communities with poor access to care.  In a mission by boat to a local island community and a three-day mission on foot with pack horses to the mountain community of La Sabana, the team worked with Floating Doctors staff to provide primary care services and preventive health to over 175 patients during these mobile deployments, about 60% of which were pediatric consults.  Some of the many conditions treated included diarrheal disease, tropical skin infections (excoriated bug bites, scabies, and fungus), dirty wounds, respiratory infections, and chronic problems such as diabetes and heart disease; in addition over 250 patients received deworming medication, many pregnant women in the remote communities received pre-natal ultrasound and vitamins, and several patients were earmarked for more advanced follow-up services which were delivered over the subsequent weeks.  The team also volunteered at the Asilo (nursing home) supported by the Floating Doctors in Bocas del Toro.

Tecate, Mexico: March 2013

In March of 2013, four Masters Entry Clinical Nursing students had the opportunity to join Smiles International for two days in Tecate, Mexico as student nurse volunteers. Smiles International performs charitable surgical procedures for underprivileged individuals with cleft and craniofacial deformities. On this particular trip, students encountered an obstacle with a power-outage in the clinic, but Dr. Jeff Moses, the founder of Smiles International, demonstrated great perseverance in acquiring a generator to be able to perform all of the planned surgeries for the patients. Joining Smiles International in Tecate gave students the opportunity to not only hone clinical skills and work with an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, but also to witness the progress of the patients. The students worked in preoperative and postoperative care.

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