Our Nurses of the Week are fifteen students from the University of Arkansas Eleanor Mann School of Nursing who spent three weeks this past June volunteering in Ghana, a country in West Africa. The students spent their time helping to deliver babies, teaching wound care, infant hydration, dental hygiene, and CPR, but they also got to experience the local culture at a Ghanaian wedding and while spotting elephants in the wild on a safari.
Study abroad experiences for the nursing school have only recently been offered. The trip was organized by Carol Agana, instructor of nursing, who has traveled to West Africa many times over the last decade and owns a home there with her husband, a Ghana native. Through her connections there, Agana partnered with local healthcare providers and nonprofits to set up learning opportunities for her nursing students. Allison Scott, assistant professor of nursing, also joined on the trip.
The students were required to attend pre-travel meetings to learn about the African healthcare system, chronic diseases, health disparities, and techniques for assessing health in communities. Agana and Scott wanted the students to understand that they were going there to learn, not to change things. Natalie Gohman, a senior nursing student at the University of Arkansas who plans to graduate next May, tells News.UArk.edu:
“We all learned a lot about ourselves. We’ve grown up in America, where our health-care system is one of the best. This area doesn’t have that, yet we learned about different procedures and everyday tasks they do in a much simpler way using the resources they have.”
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