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Summer Trips - 2013

 Nursing Students from every program -- Bachelor's, MECN and APN, represented the School well around the world as they partnered with local non-government organizations to provide much needed care in areas that have little access to the important services to keep them healthy!  Read about their experiences in Nicaragua, Panama and Uganda.



Five MECNs - Elisha Gilbert, Cara Williams, Alexis Raton, Nichole Downing and Katrina Lee spent a week in rural Nicaragua (Limon) working with Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) to provide free pediatric care to 8 different communities. The students participated both in the clinic and public health setting. They took vitals, assisted in developmental assessments and physical therapy sessions, performed diabetic foot assessments, developed presentations for local high school students and observed a local pediatrician. One participant noted: "FIRMC was a humbling experience that allowed us to see the true meaning of compassionate care."


Scabies, leishmaniasis, and intestinal worms did not phase a group of UCLA MECN, BSN, and APN students offering medical aid in Panama. The group worked during the September break with the organization Floating Doctors (www.floatingdoctors.com) providing free medical care to the indigenous Ngobe community.  MECN students Casey Rodriguez, Jennie Chen, Leslie Ling, and Meghan Kavanagh and BSN student Hayley Blacker practiced their nursing skills, taking vital signs, patient histories, and utilizing physical assessment to triage patients for care by APN students Tim Rausch and Yesenia Duarte.

"The trip to Panama touched us all in different ways," said second year MECN Leslie Ling. "For me, I met indigenous peoples, learned about their unique culture, and began to understand how their way of life intertwines with their health outcomes"

APN student Tim Rausch said, "I was lucky enough to collaborate with incredible clinicians from literally across the globe and provide treatments, medications, and education to patients who would normally be left without any care."

"The trip to Panama gave me a chance to practice all of the nursing assessment, wound care, and public health skills I've learned in an environment where I really felt like a valued member of the healthcare team," said MECN Meghan Kavanagh.

APN student Yesenia Duarte is already planning to go back, "Volunteering with Floating Doctors helped me become a stronger practitioner and has motivated me to learn as much as I can, so that I could one day return and work as a volunteer provider."

All agree it was an experience of a lifetime.


Professor Barbara Bates-Jensen and a group of UCLA students (5 APN students: April Anderson, Danae Boorsma, Cassie Coleman, Amanda Cotter, Lauren Drummey and 2nd Year MECN student & group leader, Allison Brenner) traveled to Kaihura, a small village in Western Uganda, to provide medical care in partnership with Bringing Hope to the Family and Know.Think.Act. The group provided care to over 500 people via mobile clinics throughout the Kyenjojo district over two weeks. Care included physical assessments, screening for HIV, Syphilis, Malaria, and Typhoid, and subsequent treatment for syphilis, malaria, UTIs, and a variety of other ailments.  One outreach focused on providing and hanging mosquito nets in village homes, as well as educating families on hygiene and sanitation.

The group collected and distributed used shoes to more than 100 orphans at Bringing Hope Childrens Home. They were so excited to receive shoes. It didn't matter if they were girls or boys shoes or if they didn't fit perfectly. Shoes are important in the prevention of Jiggers, a parasitic flea that devastates health by burrowing into the unprotected feet. The group also donated toys, balloons and candy.In addition to providing medical care through mobile clinics, the group also made wound rounds at the government-run Fort Portal Referral Hospital under the guidance of Dr.Barbara Bates-Jensen.  Dr.BBJ and the students provided wound care to approximately 40 patients.

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