The College of Nursing hosted a global classroom by Skype today as faculty members in Greenville talked with ECU students and faculty in Guatemala.
Dr. Kim Larson, assistant professor of nursing, has led a study abroad class the past few summers where students have seen needs up close by working in health clinics, schools and nutrition centers in the Mayan community.
Larson and nine undergraduate nursing students, and two psychology, two biology and four public health graduate students have been in Guatemala since May 22. They return this weekend.
Allison Broome, a senior nursing student, told participants that one of the biggest challenges has been the communication barrier. “I came here with limited Spanish,” she said.
Each morning the students have been learning Spanish. In the afternoon, they have worked in clinical areas and provided demonstration and information about the importance of hand-washing, nutrition and brushing teeth.
One afternoon they conducted an outreach clinic attended by 54 people. Not everyone could be seen, but the sickest were seen first. And everyone received vitamins, she said.
Albee Ongsuco, a doctoral student in psychology, said she and another psychology student completed a tutoring practicum for middle schoolers in Green County last year and applied the same curriculum with students in Guatemala to assess similarities and differences.
“We found that the behaviors of middle schoolers and high schoolers were the same,” Ongsuco said. For instance, the students would sometimes talk out-of-turn or phone friends during a session, and several daydreamed or didn’t pay attention.
Yatta David, a master’s of public health student, said she and three other public health students assessed the local community’s readiness for natural disasters including communication, evacuation routes, and food and water safety. Last year’s nursing students actually were there during a mudslide.
In response to the college’s summer abroad program, this spring’s graduating nursing class raised $5,000 to pay for the construction of a well to provide clean drinking water for a village in Guatemala.