Seven senior nursing students started off their semester by serving in Mexico, a nursing tradition that was put on hold for four years.
Due to safety concerns, ORU cancelled the annual nursing leadership trip to Mexico in 2009. It hadn’t taken place since—until now.
“We were able to petition that decision this year and were granted leave to send students this year as long as they took certain safety precautions,” said Assistant Professor of Nursing Cheryl Swanson.
The seniors got back to Tulsa on Feb. 14. They stayed in homes of families on the Roca Blanca Mission Base in Oaxaca, Mexico. The base was founded in 1990 by graduates of Victory Bible Institute.
An alumna from the ORU Anna Vaughn College of Nursing established a clinic in addition to the mission base during the ‘90s.
“That nurse still resides there and continues to run the clinic,” said Swanson. “She also works as an adjunct instructor for ORU AVCON when we send the senior nursing students down there for the three to four weeks.”
During their month stay in Mexico, the students got hands-on experience interacting with patients on the base and in surrounding villages.
“We are working with doctors at the clinic on base; it’s kind of like an Urgent Care,” said nursing student Ashton Loehr. “We take vitals and help with medical consults. We do whatever skills are needed.”
In addition to serving at the clinic, the students also earn class credit. Each student raised their own funds to make their trip possible.
Loehr said the trip opened her eyes to the quality of healthcare available in other countries.
“[The trip has] given me a reference point for how healthcare works in other countries and shown me how great of a need there is,” she said. “I think it has also shown me how much of a difference my nursing education can make.”