School of Nursing and Health Sciences students return from serving in Honduras
Saint Xavier University's (SXU) School of Nursing and Health Sciences (SONHS) visited Honduras from May 12 to May 26 to aid in service efforts for underserved citizens. The trip was made possible through the generous support of Schools for the Children of the World. Primarily focusing on providing pediatric care, the group was made up of six SONHS students and their director, Laura Tucco, Ph.D., FNP-BC.
While there were many memorable moments that occurred during their stay in Honduras, the part that stood out the most to those who attended involved a chance encounter with a young girl in the Cortes state.
"On Thursday, May 24, 2018, we went to a remote village in San Antonio and set up a clinic for the day in association with the medical staff from the health clinic in San Antonio," recalled Tucco. "I was in the far corner of the room, looked over to where the child was checking in to be seen. Her mother was trying to hold her upright, the child was passing out every time her mother tried to keep her standing."
With the help of their partners from the clinic and other volunteers from Helping Hands Ministries, the group quickly accessed the child and determined that they could not provide the medical attention she needed; the girl required immediate care from the hospital, located in the capital city of San Pedro Sula.
"We personally paid for her to go the main hospital in the city for treatment because her family did not have the financial means," remembered student participant Kaitlin Amicone, RN. "We were informed the following day that she had hepatitis and was doing much better with the proper care in the city. I believe that if we were not there to help send her for emergency care, she may have died in the rural community since there are minimal to no resources for health care."
Those who attended the trip were truly able to see the impact of their presence in a community that lacked even basic access to medical care.
Student participant Kristin Butkus, RN, said, "A moment from this trip that I will never forget was when I was working with a nurse from the clinic going house to house to provide flu shots. One woman barely had anything within her home and made sure to offer us the minimal juice and crackers she had to thank us. She hugged me so tightly, thanking me for coming to help out her country," she recalled. "This woman barely had anything and was offering all she had to thank me."
Due to the success of the trip, SONHS is already planning to return to Honduras next year and, hopefully, for many years to come.
"Although it can be very difficult to leave the structured healthcare environment, we are accustomed to in the United States, these experiences are so rewarding and the chance of a lifetime," said Amicone.
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