Combining my passion for nursing with the unreal setting of Nepal -- a place that I have wanted to visit for so many years -- was a dream come true!
I am appreciative beyond words to the “Dean’s Global Health Scholarship” as it made this dream a reality.
CU Nursing Students in Nepal
Seeing Public Health Up Close and Personal
This two-week immersive experience was led by two CU Nursing faculty members (Senior Instructor of Clinical Teaching Pamela Prag, CNM, MS, MPH and Assistant Professor of Clinical Teaching Dr. Jennifer Fisher, DNP, WHNP) and included myself and eight fellow undergraduate students from the traditional program.
Our learning focused on the triumphs and challenges of public health policy and programs in a low resource setting/country. I was surprised to learn our Nepali partners face many of the same struggles as we do here in the United States: socially, politically, etc.
We toured multiple outpatient clinics providing, among other things, testing and treatment for tuberculosis and childhood immunizations. At the immunization clinic young families patiently waited for hours to get their children vaccinated.
Our group also spent time in a clinic for malnutrition and rehabilitation (Nepal Youth Foundation Nutrition and HIV Children’s Home). This clinic helps rehabilitate children who are severely malnourished through nutrition and education programs. The clinic has an amazing success rate and consequently opened satellite sites throughout the country. I was so impressed with the processes it has implemented and the impact it has on the community. The clinic houses parents alongside their children during rehabilitation, empowering them to be involved in their child’s care and teaching them the required life skills to continue to practice at home. This greatly improves the long-term outcomes for these children.
The knowledge I gained through this experience in Nepal will positively impact my nursing practice and I will carry this experience with me for the rest of my life.
Resourcefulness the Name of the Game
Interacting with the nursing students from the Medical Institute College of Nursing at Sheer Memorial Adventist Hospital was one of the highlights of the trip. In addition to sharing our experience as nursing students from two different continents, I was also able to observe two surgeries and spend an afternoon in the very busy emergency department at the hospital. It was impressive to see how the staff maximized their limited resources to achieve the highest possible result!
CU Nursing Students celebrate with colorful powder during a recent Hindu celebration.
Volunteers are Highly Esteemed
In Nepal “female volunteers” play a crucial role in healthcare delivery and are highly esteemed. These women educate their communities about immunization, prenatal checkups, and more. They are truly volunteers, as they do not get paid. They work in partnership with nurses, nursing students, and other public health workers.
We saw a wide variety of cultures and ethnic groups throughout our travels and multiple examples of Hinduism and Buddhism coexisting harmoniously. We visited one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the World (Boudhanath), and one of the most sacred Hindu Temples of Nepal (Pashupatinath). It was inspiring to see Hindus, Buddhist monks, the Kumari (7-year-old child Goddess), Muslims... all mingling together.
Our visit coincided with the Holi Festival- a Hindu celebration of good over evil. Our group joyously joined the festivities, running through the streets with the children of Dhulikhel as we doused each other in colorful powder.
Dream Come True
Nepal is a country of natural beauty and friendly, welcoming people. We saw various socioeconomic classes living on the same street. No matter who the people were they had a warm and inviting attitude.
I was able to learn about different cultures and different healthcare settings, which is a skill I will carry with me throughout my entire nursing career.