Selkirk College: Community Support Makes International Nursing Experience Possible

Community Support Makes International Nursing Experience Possible

Apr 10 2013
Thanks to the amazing continued support of the community, ten third-year Nursing students at Selkirk College are once again traveling to Guatemala as part of their practicum and commitment to learn more about the common roots of health care challenges in both the north and the south. 

Guatemala Trip Provides Experiential and Service Learning

The ten students, accompanied by a faculty member and community volunteer, leave on April 24th for just over three weeks.  While there, the group will learn about how community development, health and prevention are positively linked and how Guatemalan project partners promote health by addressing fundamental social issues such as privatization, poverty, inequality and basic human rights. They will also be working side-by-side with local nurses to raise awareness of locally identified health concerns such as sexual health, dental health and hygiene.

Selkirk College Nursing Student on Practicum Experience In Guatamala

Selkirk College nursing student Tessa Munro traveled to Guatemala last year. Read about her experience at Nelson Nursing Student Shares Guatemalan Experience.

“We are so thankful for the continued opportunity to share this commitment with the citizens and families of Guatemala,” says Nursing faculty member, Mary Ann Morris.  “Our relationship with them becomes stronger each year and it reflects the partnership we have with the communities and the people we work with.  Despite limited resources, they have amazing tenacity, resilience and creative ways of providing health care.”

The program also reflects Selkirk's recently announced strategic directions of building on strengths and successes to develop innovative programs and services, and increasing enrolment. 

Fundraising Boosted by Great Prizes

This trip is largely funded by local community members and organizations. “The community support has been absolutely outstanding,” said Nursing student Jenn Neilsen, who is part of the group heading to Guatemala.  “There are many new supporters, and also those who come out year after year, and their presence is invaluable.  It’s incredibly meaningful to us to have that financial help.”

This year, some grand-prize giveaways have helped raised money for the trip through raffle ticket sales.  A one-week vacation at a luxury waterfront house on Gabriola Island and a one-week stay at a beautiful Whistler home near the heart of the village were given away to two lucky winners on April 5th. Shaunna Bedin won the Whistler package and Alana Marshall won the Gabriola package. The prizes were donated by Daphne Nielson, a family member of Jenn Neilson, one of the nursing students going to Guatemala. 

Selkirk College Fundraising Draw for Guatamalan Project

Selkirk College President, Angus Graeme choosing winners of prize draw with Jenn Neilson. 

Over $25,000 has been raised through financial donations made by individuals and various organizations, and the money makes these annual trips a reality.  “We hope to take our experiences from this trip into our careers and continue to share what we’ve learned,” says Leah Mailey, another student heading to Guatemala.  “We made a promise to come back and share the stories of the people of Guatemala, learn from them and also help them have a voice.” 

Other community donations include hall and kitchen facilities for the ‘Beans & Rice Dinners’, toothbrushes and medical supplies, just to name a few. Also, local Castlegar quilt-maker Verna Chernoff generously pieced together a beautiful quilt made of Guatemalan fabric, which was quilted by Debra McCracken, that will be drawn for on April 17th. 

Vernal Chernoff Donated Beautiful Quilt of Quatemalan fabric

Delivered Collaboratively With Project Partners

Select senior baccalaureate Nursing students have been traveling to Guatemala annually since 2005. Their practices have been delivered in collaboration with Selkirk College’s project partners—the Association of Women in Solidarity, the communities of Sipicapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacan, the Maya-Mam Health Promoters of La Esmeralda and the cooperative of Nuevo Horizonte.

Learn more about the Selkirk College Nursing Program and their Guatemalan Practicum Experiences.

Read More: Community Support Makes International Nursing Experience Possible