- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 10 February 2016
- Written by DANIELLE SCHIPANI | NEWS EDITOR
Over winter break, 14 people, including University students and faculty, traveled to Haiti with 25 nurses and nursing students from other universities to run medical clinics throughout the country, helping about 1500 patients from Jan. 4-Jan. 10.
“We set up the clinics in the countryside and more urban areas (where the Haitian people were relocated after heir earthquake which happened six years ago). We also visited a hospital and went to an orphanage,” said Dr. Laura Jannone, Associate Professor of Nursing.
Janone went with her husband Dr. Joel Jannone a Primary Care Physician, their daughter Gina Jannone, a graduate student who helped run the pharmacy, pediatrician, Dr. Steve Miller, Carol Miller and their daughter Amanda Miller, a nurse, along with eight sophomore pre-licensure nursing students.
The students and faculty handed out hygiene kits filled with soap, washcloths, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, and hand sanitizer, to the patients they encountered. The students who attended used the skills they learned in their Individual Health Assessment course they took during the fall semester with Dr. Patricia Sciscione, specialist professor of nursing, at makeshift clinics.
One sophomore nursing student, Kimberly Thompson, explained how she always dreamed of going to Haiti to help people. “I love traveling and have always wanted to go on a medical mission trip. I found out my freshman year some of my nursing professors have been going to Haiti to do mission work. I knew right away I had to go. I started to save my money and my dream of mission work soon became a reality.”
Nursing student, Caroline Shanahan, explained: “the most memorable part of the trip on this trip was helping a woman who had scabies. After applying ointment to her body, the woman turned to me and said ‘I love you.’ It was such a beautiful moment, seeing that I was making a difference in her life. Just seeing how appreciative this woman was for a small gesture was very humbling.”
Students explained that they were able to takeaway life experience and life lessons from attending the trip. “After the trip, I learned an important lesson of how to not take what I have here in the United States for granted,” said Jason Hebron, sophomore nursing student. “Living in Haiti for a short amount of time, without internet, phone connection, clean water in the sink in the bathroom, or even a bed, made me realize that everything we have here in our homes is a luxury to those in third world countries such as in Haiti,” he said.
Hebron shared a memory about the trip where he experienced the joy and gratitude that the people of Haiti felt after being helped. “I remember I had a family come in during one of our clinics for us to assess what was wrong with them. After the fact, we handed them the usual health kit with the common household toiletries. The look on the young boy’s face was of pure excitement and joy. He kept on repeating ‘Mesi, Mesi! God Bless You! Mesi!’ This meant ‘Thank you’ in Creole. I have never seen someone so excited to see such basic things in my entire life. And that was a common theme throughout every clinic day. Someone, if not everyone would be so grateful to receive such normality to us here and to them, it was a blessing.”
Jannone explained what she hoped students learned from the experience. “I hope the students learned Cultural differences in countries like Haiti and to see diseases you might never see here. Also to be grateful for medical care and even meals, and housing we have in our country not afforded to others. I hope they have lifetime friendships with our Haitian interpreters (Many the same age as our students) and nursing students from other universities that participated in our trip.”
“I learned about the Haitian culture and their way of life which was shocking to me,” said Amanda Sanford, sophomore nursing student. “I took away an appreciation for the way I live in the United States, and every day I feel grateful to take a hot shower, flush a toilet, eat a healthy meal, get an education, sleep through the night, and many other things that I took for granted before my experience in this country.”
All of the students who attended volunteered to go. The students were Amanda Sanford, Caroline Shanahan, Kim Thompson, Jason Hebron, Melina La Rouche, Miranda Konstantinides , Shannon Averill, and Julianna Emilio.
Before the trip, a packing party was held in Birch Hall, where everyone who was to attend the trip came together to make the hygiene kits. They also sorted clothes that would be taken to an orphanage and medication that was to be given to patients in need.
This medical mission was set up through Foundation for Peace and Sigma Theta Tau, The Nursing Honor Society. Student fundraising along donations from friends and family helped fund the trip.
“I would definitely go on a trip like this again and I would encourage others to do so too if they have the opportunity. There is no other feeling like working together as a team to help those in need,” said Shanahan.
PHOTO COURTESY of Laura Jannone