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In honor of CRNA Week, our Nurses of the Week are two Columbia University nursing students who traveled to Ecuador on a surgical mission. Julian Piazzola and William Scott, both members of the Columbia Nursing Class of 2018, jumped at the opportunity to assist a surgical mission in Ecuador. As Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) students, it was the perfect opportunity to participate in a clinical rotation while also getting to travel abroad.

The students were accompanied by Michael Greco, DNP, director of Columbia’s Nurse Anesthesia Program, on the week-long health mission with Blanca’s House to bring quality medical care to countries and communities in Latin America. Their clinical experience in Ecuador included setting up an operating room to provide anesthesia for total knee replacements and head and neck cases for local citizens.

Although the clinical hours they completed in Ecuador did not count toward their hour requirements for official CRNA licensing, Piazzola and Scott say their medical mission was an invaluable opportunity to volunteer their services to patients in need. Piazzola tells

“Providing care in a remote location was extremely rewarding. I felt the impact we made on this community, and I left with such a positive feeling about the patient experience, which is integral to nursing care.”

To read Columbia Nursing’s full interview with Piazzola and Scott about their experiences volunteering on a surgical mission to Ecuador, visit here.

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