Ex­pe­ri­ence of a life­time

CBU se­nior nurs­ing stu­dents to vol­un­teer in Ecuador

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY JEREMY FRASER jeremy.fraser@cb­post.com

For Cape Breton Uni­ver­sity se­nior nurs­ing stu­dents Mor­gan McGil­livray and Bri­alee Tighe, the health-care pro­fes­sion is an im­por­tant part of their life.

The fourth-year stu­dents will be among 24 stu­dents and four staff mem­bers trav­el­ing to Quito, Ecuador later this month to visit and vol­un­teer at nurs­ing prac­tices such as med­i­cal-sur­gi­cal, emer­gency, ob­stet­rics, neona­tal, op­er­at­ing rooms and pe­di­atrics.

The stu­dents will also have com­mu­nity ex­pe­ri­ences at se­niors day clin­ics, oc­cu­pa­tional and phys­io­ther­apy clin­ics, chil­dren’s clin­ics and or­phan­ages. They will also visit an in­dige­nous com­mu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence other ways of heal­ing and treat­ing med­i­cal is­sues.

McGil­livray has high ex­pec­ta­tions for the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I know that it will be a once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity to build on our nurs­ing skills and knowl­edge and also to learn about the health prac­tices in a cul­ture that is very dif­fer­ent from ours,” said McGil­livray, a res­i­dent of River Ryan.

McGil­livray, 21, feels lucky to have the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in the unique ex­pe­ri­ence, es­pe­cially with her class­mates.

“The trip will help me ex­pand my world view, in­crease my lead­er­ship skills and pro­vide me with in­sight that I can take with me in my fu­ture ca­reer as a reg­is­tered nurse.

“We’ve all been look­ing for­ward to this trip for so long — we’re ex­cited that it’s finally here.”

This year’s trip isn’t the first time Cape Breton Uni­ver­sity nurs­ing stu­dents have vis­ited Ecuador. Last Fe­bru­ary, 21 stu­dents made a sim­i­lar trip, spend­ing more than a week in the coun­try, in­creas­ing cul­tural com­pe­tence and ob­serv­ing health prac­tices in a Third World coun­try.

Belinda An­drea, CBU nurs­ing prac­tice ed­u­ca­tor, said stu­dents gave pos­i­tive feed­back from last year’s trip.

“Many felt it was a lifechang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” she said.

An­drea said the trip is im­por­tant to the pro­gram as the stu­dents are com­plet­ing their last re­quired nurs­ing prac­tice be­fore grad­u­a­tion.

“It al­lows them to put to prac­tise the knowl­edge gained over four years and share it with peo­ple who are in such great need,” she said. “This ex­pe­ri­ence will be ful­fill­ing 80 hours to­ward their practicum course re­quire­ments.”

Stu­dents will leave for Quito on Feb. 20. They will spend 10 days in the coun­try, be­fore re­turn­ing to Cape Breton on March 3.

In or­der to make the trip pos­si­ble, the stu­dents held a va­ri­ety of fundrais­ers through­out the year, rais­ing close to $70,000.

Like other stu­dents, Tighe is pre­par­ing for the trip in many dif­fer­ent ways, in­clud­ing learn­ing com­mon med­i­cal terms in Span­ish as well as phrases com­monly used.

“The pro­fes­sors that went last year gave us some great in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing what the trip will be like and what we can ex­pect,” said the Syd­ney River res­i­dent.

The group has also pre­pared for the trip by gath­er­ing equip­ment to bring with them to Ecuador, ei­ther through dona­tions or pur­chase. The do­na­tion list in­cludes school sup­plies, den­tal and hy­giene prod­ucts, cloth­ing, and di­a­pers as well as toys for chil­dren in an or­phan­age.

Tighe, 23, con­sid­ers the trip a high point of the school year.

“We’re so busy dur­ing the school year bal­anc­ing classes, study­ing, clin­i­cal, and pre­par­ing for the NCLEX exam and the trip gives us some­thing to keep push­ing for­ward,” said Tighe. “It’s hard to be­lieve that we’ve been fundraising since April and now we’re leav­ing in less than two weeks.”

Aside from the trip, the nurs­ing stu­dents will also be look­ing for­ward to grad­u­a­tion. Cape Breton Uni­ver­sity’s spring con­vo­ca­tion will be held on May 13 at the Canada Games Com­plex in Syd­ney.


Cape Breton Uni­ver­sity se­nior nurs­ing stu­dents will par­tic­i­pate in an in­ter­na­tional nurs­ing ex­pe­ri­ence later this month. A group of 24 stu­dents and four CBU staff mem­bers will travel to Quito, Ecuador, to vol­un­teer in var­i­ous units in­clud­ing med­i­cal-sur­gi­cal, emer­gency, ob­stet­rics, neona­tal and op­er­at­ing rooms. From left, are nurs­ing stu­dents Bri­alee Tighe, Brea Fal­coner and Mor­gan McGil­livray.


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