RAYJON NURSING AND INTER-PROFESSIONAL TRIPS
The purpose of the Nursing and Inter–Professional Trips is
→ To raise awareness in our communities of the situation in developing countries
→ To administer “hands on” basic nursing care in marginalized communities where people have poor access to health care
→ To evaluate health care in a developing country
→ To provide meaningful professional development for Canadians and Dominican health care professionals
When Things Don’t Go As Planned
In 2020 with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the spring Georgian College Nursing Trip to Consuelo, Dominican Republic had to be cancelled for the first time. Aside from the obvious disappointment for team leaders and participants, the bigger question became, “What about health care for the vulnerable communities?” Trip leader & Georgian College Nursing Professor Sue Vodarek shared her reflection. Together we can still support health care in the DR, at a crucial time.
NURSING TRIPS EXPERIENCE
When Georgian College nursing staff took eight students and a physician to Dominican Republic in 2002, they never dreamed the program would grow into a massive volunteer undertaking repeated annually. The trip was originally designed for nursing students to acquire hands-on experience in community nursing. After a few students came back to tell their stories, word spread fast.
Now, both students and members of the medical community participate to assess and treat more than 2,500 people over a three-week period. Those attending include students from Georgian Nursing program, an inter-professional health team including paramedics, doctors, nurses, teachers, practical nurses, chiropractor, public health specialist, and nurse practitioners.
Other trips include an inter-professional team of students and faculty representing opticianry, massage, paramedic, nursing, dental and early childhood education/professional programs.
Nursing students work side-by-side with paramedic and massage therapy students to give a well-rounded care experience.
Students provide overall health assessments, wound care, respiratory care, musculoskeletal care, pain and parasite medication and more. Visits take place to local schools and provide much needed supplies and education to children. Nursing and paramedic students provide basic first-aid education and dental health promotion.
“The need is very great in the Dominican Republic,” says Sheila Wojcik, a faculty member and volunteer organizer. “There could be hundreds of people lined up each day waiting to see someone at our clinics – the idea is mind boggling.” Everyone is a volunteer and must not only pay their own way, but also bring medical supplies with them.
“It has been an amazing journey,” says faculty member Sylvia vander Weg. “From a small group of eight students, the project has expanded and grown into this huge adventure. I look forward each year to traveling with our special faculty team to the Dominican Republic and having the opportunity to introduce students to life and health care in a developing country. It grounds me as to what is important in life and I know this is the work I am called to do.”
NURSING TRIPS COSTS AND FUNDING
All costs of Nursing/Inter-Professional Trips (transportation, meals and accommodation) are covered by the traveling group. Participants are volunteers and each person pays their own way, although fundraising is encouraged.
Students pay approximately $1,700 to pay for their airfare and clean, yet humble, accommodations in Dominican Republic. Participants in Nursing Trips actively fundraise and help to collect a variety of medical supplies, pain medications, antibiotic ointments, wheelchairs, crutches, canes and baby items. Long before the trip, students start visiting doctors’ offices, hospitals, supply companies and pharmacies to ask for donations.
The trip fee does not include any medical preparation costs for individual, travel or out of country travel insurance. Rayjon and Georgian College provide detailed instructions for pre-trip health & safety preparation.
Charitable tax receipts are issued for the majority of Nursing Trips costs.
To ensure a meaningful and satisfying Nursing Trips experience, each participant is expected to commit to our established trip policies and procedures, and to abide by RAYJON’s Code of Conduct during the trip. Adherence to the Code of Conduct will minimize risks to personal safety, health, and security, honour and respect the local customs and maintain Rayjon’s reputation both at home and abroad.
Students who are interested in going on a trip should ensure that their parents/guardians fully understand RAYJON’s Code of Conduct. To prevent any misunderstandings in the trip guidelines and rules, parents/guardians are encouraged to take part in the pre-trip preparations.
For safety’s sake, participants or small groups will not be free to wander around alone.