Caldwell, N.J., Feb. 8, 2016 – Eleven Caldwell University nursing and health study students put their academic and clinical experience into action by volunteering at a health clinic in Honduras during winter break. The Caldwell chapter of the organization Global Brigades worked at a clinic in the rural mountain community of Jalaca, two hours from the capital of Tegucigalpa. There they performed triage assessments, took blood pressure screenings and checked vital signs.
Nicole Grandeza, a senior, said it was a rewarding to see that their health care knowledge “came out naturally … our observations were supported by the doctors.”
Jonayris Reyna, also a senior, said the mission trip came at a time when the seniors needed the experience because “we are going into what is probably going to be our toughest semester ever.”
Global Brigades is a nonprofit organization that organizes student teams to help communities with their health care needs.
Caldwell’s team was led by nursing professor Marnie Sperling. They worked with students from Purdue University. Several Caldwell students provided Spanish translation.
Reyna recalled a man who came in needing a composite filling and was embarrassed to have his photo taken. After receiving dental care from Professor Sperling, who is dentist, “his smile did a 360,” said Reyna.
Sperling was proud of her students and their “professionalism, compassion and resilience.”
“The hard-work ethic and leadership that they exhibited exemplified their dedication to the community, which is consistent with Caldwell University’s mission. It was an experience that will stay with me forever,” said Sperling.
Grandeza and Reyna want to return and volunteer again to see how the people used the health care teachings they provided.
The students pointed to many gifts from the trip including making new friends, learning how to build an ecostove, obtaining a better understanding of others’ living conditions and developing empathy.