More than thirty nursing students from San Jose State University (SJSU) spent the summer honing their public health skills at St. George’s University in Grenada as part of a newly formed partnership between the institutions. St. George’s hosted the SJSU students on the True Blue Campus for their public health clinical rotations, providing an opportunity for the nursing students to experience practice-based skills within a cultural context.
Dr. Tamara McKinnon, a lecturer in community health and research at the Valley Foundation School of Nursing at SJSU, led the study abroad course Grenada: Global Service Learning in Nursing.
“Grenada was a perfect destination for our study abroad course,” said Dr McKinnon. “In addition to the concept of One Health, One Medicine, we also teach our students that we are One People. Regardless of geography, the Grenadian community is as much our community as the one around the corner. The service component of public health applies regardless of distance.”
“As a partner, SGU provides a cultural atmosphere that engages interaction between San Jose State students and either local nursing and/or MPH students,” said Dr. Shelly Rodrigo, Assistant Professor Public Health and Preventive Medicine at SGU. “The collaboration presents an opportunity for partnering with SJSU faculty in conducting research and also provides practicum site opportunities and supervisors which can be accessed by MPH students.”
Among those who participated in the program was Maureen Tapiz, a nurse of 13 years currently completing her bachelor’s degree at San Jose State University and hoping to continue her education with a Master’s in Nursing Education. Although California has a diverse population, she chose to make the trip to Grenada due to SGU’s strong emphasis on One World, One Health, One Medicine —the mission of which she plans to apply to her global health studies in the future. “Grenada has a difference of resources; however, the medical community does more with far less and they seem so much richer for it,” she said.
The students spent three weeks immersed in the Grenadian culture, where they worked with caregivers at various clinical sites. The students visited the St. Martin Home for the Aged and the Dorothy Hopkins Home, and conducted personal home visits to the Limes community. They performed assessments, provided education on medications, worked with caregivers on the use of body mechanics to move the patients so as not to hurt themselves or the patients, and made referrals to local health centers.
Additionally, the SJSU students worked with Ms. Nester Edwards, Chief Nursing Officer at the Grenada Ministry of Health, to conduct a full day of classes on professional development at the request of nurses at the Grenada General Hospital.
The students completed their public health rotation with attendance at a health fair in Carriacou where the SGU and SJSU teams collaborated to provide screenings for blood pressure, blood sugar, dissemination of free condoms, and sexual education discussions including STD prevention, to some of the more than over 135 people in attendance. The event wrapped up with input from attendees on how to improve the health fair for next year, a list of priorities from the community, and plans to strengthen the ongoing partnership between the two universities and the people of Grenada.
By Ray-Donna Peters