Montana News

Nov 21, 2013 6:11 PM by Claire Anderson - MTN News

MSU nursing students volunteer in the Dominican Republic

GREAT FALLS - MSU nursing students and faculty from around the state just returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic aimed at providing healthcare.

Fifteen Montana State University senior nursing students and staff traveled to the Dominican Republic, staying near Monte Cristi, just north of the Haitian border, where conditions are poor and health care is limited.

"There was no running water in one of the communities that we went into. There was no clean drinking water and so the citizens of the community were using bright green water with chemical run off and waste and that is what they had access," Catie Ruffini, MSU senior nursing student from Great Falls, explained.

MSU's College of Nursing partnered with Timmy Global Health several years ago, and the partnership takes students around the world for health service projects including Ecuador, Honduras.

This is the second time they've sent MSU nursing students to the Dominican Republic.

"This was a public health trip and we focused on chronic disease prevention, specifically high blood pressure and diabetes," said Laurie Glover, an MSU Nursing Professor who was a faculty member on the trip.

Students and staff brought medical supplies from local physicians bringing tooth brushes, pre-natal vitamins, and taught lessons to community remembers about sustaining a healthy lifestyle.

"We tried to instill in them that even though they have hyper tension even though they may have diabetes that there still diet factors, there are still exercise factors there's things that they can control," said Ruffini.

The MSU nursing students enjoyed the challenge, "In the classroom it's a controlled environment you're talking about these things and these scenarios and it's very different when you're out in the real world dealing with real people and the environment. It's a lot less controlled and you have to think on your feet," explained Ruffini.

Not only was this trip about teaching, it was about learning from their surroundings.

"There are needs in the global community, but it helped them to appreciate what the needs and teh resources are in their home communities here in Montana," Glover said.."

The next MSU Nursing program trip will be to Ecuador this spring.

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