The purpose of the Nursing and Inter–Professional Trip is
- To raise awareness in our communities of the situation in developing countries
- To administer “hands on” basic nursing care in poor remote areas where people have minimal to no access to health care
- To evaluate health care in a developing country
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 over the last several years,” 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.”