The Union Recorder

October 8, 2013

Nursing students to treat patients at Honduras clinic


GCSU Communications

MILLEDGEVILLE —

Ten students. 

Two faculty members. 

More than 1,200 patients in two weeks.

That’s the challenge for a group from Georgia College that will soon leave their homes for a remote region of Honduras.

It’s a study abroad course for students in the Master of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner Program where they will work with Honduras Outreach, Inc. (HOI) as they provide medical care for patients in the Central American country.

“I’m as excited as I am nervous,” said Sandy Haupt, BSN, RN, a student in the program from Monroe, Ga. “I’ve never been on a trip like this, so it will be a great experience, but I have had to put in some extra effort to learn the types of illnesses in the region.”

The group will be faced with treating and diagnosing some illnesses they may never have seen before.

“I’m looking forward to learning a lot,” said Haupt. “With both of our knowledgeable professors with us, I think we will be able to live up to the challenge of seeing this large number of patients in such a short time.”

Georgia College nursing faculty members Dr. Sallie Coke and Dr. Deborah McMillan will lead students on this trip for the first time in Georgia College’s history. 

“This service-learning experience has been a dream of mine for over a year,”’ said Coke. “I started working on this project in the fall of last year and introduced it to the students in February.  It quickly took off and, during the summer, it became apparent that a third of our nurse practitioner class was interested in going.”

The Georgia College chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing donated $2,500 for two scholarships and medical supplies. The Macon Graduate Center and the Old Capital Chapter of the Georgia Nursing Association contributed money as well. 

“In addition, significant pharmaceutical donations have been made by J&M Drugs in Warner Robins and Hines Pharmacy in Barnesville Georgia,” said Coke. The donations are extremely helpful because of the limited medical resources in this remote area. Our medical mission team is taking all needed pharmaceutical and medical equipment with them from the United States.”

The number of expected patients has doubled to more than 1,200 since the initial planning of the trip. 

“The estimated number of people needing health care in Honduras is difficult to nail down as people come from outlying areas to receive care when they know teams are coming in,” said Coke. “They often line up days in advance of the team.”

The group will leave on Oct. 26 and return on Nov. 9. 

While they are working in Honduras, a student will blog about their daily experiences. 

Follow their progress here.

For more information on study aboard opportunities, visit gcsu.edu/international.

To learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner Program, visit gscu.edu/nursing.