This semester, sixteen baccalaureate nursing students from Sault College will have the unique opportunity to explore health globally by participating in an international learning experience to Nicaragua.
Students will be involved in several in-class learning sessions at Sault College over the winter semester to prepare for their international placement in Nicaragua which will occur over a 15-day period beginning on April 25, 2014.
In this experience, students will be exploring the impact of culture and geography on health while working in local communities to positively influence health.
“This is an exciting time in nursing education at Sault College and we are proud to be a leader in this type of learning experience,” notes Barb Engel, Sault College Nursing Professor and Lead on the international learning experience. “We are working hard to offer students unique, innovative learning opportunities and this experience sets us apart as we strive to enhance nursing education in Northern Ontario.”
Students will be working in a community located in the centre of the nation’s capital, Managua.
Barrio Grenada and the Anexo Dios Proveera are communities with residents currently experiencing extreme poverty.
Sault College nursing students who participate in the exchange program will receive three credits toward their undergraduate degree upon successful completion of the placement.
“The international experience incorporates students in various stages of the nursing program. Students are immersed in a cultural experience, while offering significant services to the community, an endeavour that benefits both the students of Sault College and the people of Nicaragua,” adds Engel.
Sault College is committed to empowering the people living in the remote community.
Through a unique approach, the community establishes goals and works with outside organizations to mobilize initiatives that advance the overall wellness of the community.
Sault College’s nursing students are playing an integral role in advancing wellness through a variety of initiatives prior to the excursion including a partnership with Zonta club through the Days for Girls Campaign that provides women with essential hygiene kits.
“Given the low economic level of the community we are visiting, many women do not have proper hygiene products. Providing women with essential hygiene kits will offer a significant contribution to overall health and quality of life,” adds Engel.
Community health assessment, health survey development and the distribution of first aid and hygiene kits are just some of the projects nursing students will be working on during the two-week learning experience.
Katrina Demarco, a second year nursing student is looking forward to enhancing her nursing practice. “I am excited to experience a different way of life and I am sure this is going to open my mind and my heart,” says Demarco.
In addition, Erica Niganobe, a third-year nursing student at the College feels this will make her a better practitioner. “I am most excited about meeting other nursing students in Nicaragua and helping the people living in the barrio.”
Interested students applied for this learning experience in September, 2013, and through a detailed application process, students were selected based on multiple qualities.
Sault College students are currently fundraising in support of this initiative with the primary goal of raising enough funds to support a Nicaraguan nursing student in his or her studies for at least one year.
If you would like to make a donation for the experience, find out more about the Days for Girls campaign (www.daysforgirls.org), or assist in assembling the hygiene kits, please contact the lead professor Barb Engel at 705-759-2554 extension 2602.
About Days for Girls International
Days for Girls empowers young women to ensure days of education, health, safety and dignity to ensure they can attend school.
This is done through direct distribution of sustainable feminine hygiene kits by partnering with non-profits, groups and organizations through raising awareness and helping impoverished communities start their own programs to supply kits and training.