Chamberlain University College of Nursing students recently completed a two-week trip to Kenya as part of the Global Health Education Program. The program, which has been in existence for 23 years, provides Chamberlain nursing students the opportunity to put their nursing skills and education to use in different countries, like Haiti, Kenya, Brazil, and India.
Third year nursing student Christopher Monzon chose to travel to Kenya for his GHEP trip earlier this fall, working alongside local nurses and nursing students in five cities: Mukuru, Koch, Babadongo, Kamahuha, and Maasai Mara. The nursing groups helped provide healthcare and assistance in a variety of ways, treating around 400 patients per day. “Maasai Mara, located near the Tanzania and Kenya border, had a high number of patients with malaria so they needed anti-malarial medications and disease education,” Monzon said. “However, the tribe did not believe in vaccinations so we used a special plant called Artemisia annua to treat the patients. We also taught this tribe how to search for clean water, another serious issue in the region.”
Chamberlain’s Global Health Education Program partners with different organizations in each country, such as Family Hope Charity in Kenya and Hope for Hansan’s in India. Dr. Susan Fletcher, chair of the GHEP, works with her faculty to ensure that even with varying healthcare needs, every community is helped. Dr. Fletcher told DailyNurse.com: “The program’s focus across the board is health promotion and disease prevention with an emphasis on sustainability.”
Monzon and other students were partnered each day with translators and Thika medical students to diagnose patients, distribute treatment and medication, or travel to homes of bed-ridden patients. Because the students treated so many patients each day with limited time, they sharpened and honed their interview skills to figure out symptoms and appropriate treatments. But each team learned many valuable skills from working closely together. “For example, a Thika medical student taught me how to diagnose Rickets, a disease I had never encountered prior to the trip,” Monzon told DailyNurse.com. “Then I was able to teach the Thika students how to properly take a patient’s vital signs which they then took over for us while we were interviewing patients in clinics.”
These GHEP trips fill the Chamberlain College of Nursing requirement for the campus-based community health course, while providing students the opportunity to broaden their education outside of the United States. Program requirements include a 3.0 GPA, faculty recommendation letters, and an application with the campus president’s signature. Chamberlain also provides 10-12 scholarships annually for students requiring financial aid for these trips.
These trips are invaluable for Chamberlain students, as they not only practice their nursing skills and gain new healthcare skills, but get to treat patients from very different backgrounds. “Before leaving for Kenya, I wanted to be a travel nurse,” Monzon said. “Now I want to be an international nurse to help more people like those I met in Kenya.”
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