Summer 2011 - Vol VI Issue 1
Nursing Students Spread Health in Belize
After successfully piloting an international immersion to Belize a year ago, University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions students returned this March to educate elementary school students, their teachers, and their parents about hygiene, first aid, and nutrition.
Part of the School of Nursing and Health Professions’ Health and Advocacy Program, students spent their days teaching lessons on health and wellness at the Sacred Heart Elementary School (K-8 students) in Dangriga, Belize. They also met with, teachers, community health experts, and civic leaders to gain insight into the challenges of working in the developing world.
“We hope the students are transformed by the realities of cultural diversity, tradition, and the challenges of education, health, and governance in Belize,” said Mary Lou De Natale, associate professor of nursing and coordinator of the Health and Advocacy Program.
Dan Magdoff, a senior nursing student interested in becoming an emergency helicopter nurse, said that he and other USF students taught Sacred Heart students about hand washing, personal hygiene, first aid, social health, and nutrition.
“We also delivered supplies that we brought such as first aid supplies, toothbrush/toothpaste, dental floss, hand sanitizer, soap, and school supplies,” Magdoff said.
The trip not only provided an opportunity to help local residents but also opened a window for USF students on the standard of medical care people receive in Belize as well as the gaps in care.
“I chose to take part in the Health and Advocacy Program in Belize because I am passionate about promoting health at the community level, especially when you begin to understand where the community is coming from and then build on their knowledge with respect to their culture and traditions,” said Michelle Morales ’11, now a graduate nursing student focusing on emergency care.
Prior to taking off for Belize, School of Nursing and Health Professions Health and Advocacy Program students developed curriculum for the trip, supported fundraising, and studied the community and culture of Belize and Dangriga to prepare for their weeklong immersion.
Participants included School of Nursing and Health Professions seniors Melissa Hernandez, Dan Magdoff, Sara Shanahan, graduates Artressa Ng ’10, Michelle Morales ’11, Sara Wiselogel ’11, and Lisa Sabatini, Director of the Clinical Performance and Simulation Center, Michelle De Natale, Director of Clinical Service Innovation, Mary Lou De Natale, Associate Professor of Nursing, and Geoffrey Dillon, SJ
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