International service trips give nursing students real-life clinical experience and an expanded perspective on the world.

Jamaica Service Trip 2016

International service trips give nursing students real-life clinical experience and an expanded perspective on the world.

Making a Difference through International Clinical Experience

The opportunity to put education into practice through community service is one element that makes Elms College's nursing program stand out from the rest. Another is the chance to do so in an international setting.

Senior students from Elms College’s accelerated second degree nursing program recently spent two weeks in Mandeville, Jamaica, completing 10 days of community clinical service in a variety of settings. In only 10 days, the School of Nursing students saw over 900 patients, and traveled the length and breadth of the Diocese of Mandeville in Jamaica.

They cared for patients at three different clinics: They saw pediatric clients at Mustard Seed Community, House of Hope and St. John Bosco Boys’ Home; they offered nursing services to the elderly at Mary Help of Christians Home for Elderly in Balaclava and the Manchester Infirmary in Mandeville; and they also cared for clients of all ages at the Holy Spirit Clinic in Maggoty, as well as the Bush Clinics in Morgan Forest and Albion Gulley.

Service trips make an impact on the local communities -- Mandeville is in an area of Jamaica with extremely limited resources, and the student group was offering valuable basic care services not otherwise available there -- but they also have a big impact on the students themselves. Visiting all three settings -- in three varying socioeconomic and geographic areas -- gave the students experience providing care for patients across the lifespan.

The international experience also exposed the students to new customs, giving them an expanded perspective on the world and an enhanced understanding of people from other cultures. Side trips allowed them to witness the cultural surroundings and participate in daily life in this part of Jamaica.

The days were peppered with opportunities to visit the local market and pass through the downtown areas; to stop at a roadside stand for a coconut or a serving of jerk pork; and to experience the infrastructure of a developing nation’s roads, water delivery system and power grid. Twice during this year’s trip, students were able to enjoy first-hand the relaxation of YS Falls and the calming effect of the surf at Bluefields.

Support for the trip came from many sources, including the college administration, the School of Nursing, the Franciscan Friars – OLA Province, and St. Anthony Bread in Toronto.