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The Division of Nursing in the College of Health Sciences offers a study abroad experience to senior Nursing students that allows them to explore community health issues in another country.
Since 2011, the school has maintained a relationship with St. George’s University School of Nursing in Grenada. Eight to 10 Barry students travel with two faculty members and undertake community health projects. It’s a two-week immersive program in which students live with host families and work with local service providers.
“It’s an excellent strategy for nursing programs to use as a way for students to develop cultural competence,” says Dr. Paula Delpech, who coordinates the nursing study abroad program.
This year, the students helped to produce television and radio programs on topics such as drug abuse and teen pregnancy. They also worked at two health fairs, spent a day with residents in a nursing home, and presented a talk on elder abuse to the staff of the nursing home.
Delpech says that many students who’ve been through the program say that getting a more global perspective on the interaction of culture and health helps them find direction in their careers, particularly in public health.
That sentiment rings true to Monica Nichols, a registered nurse and Bachelor of Science in Nursing-Doctor of Nursing Practice student at Barry who works in the field of mental and behavioral health.
“Seeing the work nurses did in Grenada inspired me to become an active participant in advocacy and policy, as well as pursue a career path in community health,” Nichols says. “The study abroad program allowed me to bring my new sense of cultural awareness to the workplace, where I was able to treat patients from a more holistic point of view and integrate their cultural beliefs into their plans of care.”
“It’s an excellent strategy for nursing programs to use as a way for students to develop cultural competence."