Seven family nurse practitioner and graduate students recently made the trek from Regis College School of Nursing, Sciences and Health Professions in Weston, Massachusetts to participate in SGU’s Global Nursing Initiative, a hands on clinical education experience that provides attendees with insights into an international, interdisciplinary healthcare setting. Participating students focus on enhancing their clinical diagnosis skills, especially where traditional diagnosis testing may not be readily available.
“This collaborative program seeks to give the visiting students from Regis College a service learning experience in Grenada that includes cultural immersion, in addition to learning with senior physician educators and integrated learning opportunities with medical and nursing students here at SGU,” said Dr. Frances McGill, Professor, Clinical Studies, St. George’s University.
“In healthcare settings today, it is becoming ever more essential for healthcare providers to be familiar with other cultures,” said Nicola Tesorero, whose ultimate goal is to practice nursing in underserved communities in Greater Boston. “I believe the knowledge and experience acquired from providing health care in Grenada will allow me to render better and more compassionate care to patients in the US who may have immigrated from a different culture.”
For Karlee Walther, traveling to Grenada was a wonderful opportunity to experience community-based learning on an international scale through the integration of meaningful health care, valuable clinical instruction, and cultural immersion. “Learning from Grenadian physicians, working with the internationally diverse medical student body and faculty at SGU, and providing health care and patient education to individuals of a different culture will enhance my ability to deliver culturally sensitive patient care,” said the soon-to-be Family Nurse Practitioner.
This year’s trip to Grenada consisted of six Family Nurse Practitioner students, one Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student and two Regis College Nursing Faculty members. After a brief orientation and campus tour, the students spent the next 10 days learning how culture, lifestyle, and diet affect general health in Grenada, participating in outreach to help care for underserved populations in the region.
Their tightly packed schedule included a tour of the St. George’s General Hospital led by Sister Bhagwan, clinical site visits to the offices of Drs. Kecia Lowe and Deborah Ann Stevens-John, Planned Parenthood, SGU’s University Health Services, and a combination of inpatient and outpatient pediatrics with Dr. Beverly Nelson and Dr. Tyeisha Donald.
Additionally, the students visited the Dorothy Hopkins Home for the disabled and St. Martin’s Home for the elderly, where they met with the only nurse practitioner still working on the island. They performed breast examinations and patient education at the Mt. Gay Hospital and made a large donation of new and gently used bras to the patients. The students completed their trip with two health fairs, one of which was Globe-athon Day at SGU, a new project with the goal of increasing awareness of gynecological malignancies. The students performed pelvic examinations, cervical cytology, and cervix screenings..
Launched in 2009, SGU’s international visiting nursing student program has since become the St. George’s University Global Nursing Initiative, and includes nursing students from Barry University, Indiana Wesleyan University, and the University of Toronto. In 2010, Dr. McGill, who has been with the program since its inception, collaborated with Mrs. Patricia McKiernan Ciarleglio, School of Nursing, Sciences, and Health Professions, Regis College to welcome four nurse practitioner students from Regis. Now in its seventh year, the program has not only expanded but is, more importantly, sustainable with over 100 visiting Nursing and Occupational Health students from five universities.
By Ray-Donna Peters