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Providing Care abroad to better serve at home UCF nursing and med students put their skills to the test in the rural mountains of the Dominican Republic, during a tropical storm.

(left to right) Alexis Marano, Leah White, Amanda Hermida, Amanda Oyola, Dr. Laura Gonzalez and Ariana Gross

The Medical Missi on During 2011-12, the UCF College of Nursing traveled to the Dominican Republic twice to participate in interprofessional medical mission trips with the UCF College of Medicine. This is the first time the two colleges have worked together on a joint project. The medical missions are part of an ongoing relationship the UCF College of Medicine established with the Universidad Católica Nordestana (UCNE) of San Francisco de Macorís in the Duarte province. Medical and nursing students, led by UCF faculty, set up health clinics in the impoverished Cibao region during a three-day trip in December 2011 that laid the groundwork for the second trip in July.

For the six-day July mission, the 25-person interprofessional team traveled to six distinct rural communities on the outskirts of San Francisco de Macorís. They set up makeshift health clinics at local schools with each classroom assigned a particular specialty, such as pediatrics, triage, and internal medicine. They also set up a temporary pharmacy where they dispensed basic medicines for common problems, such as diabetes and hypertension. The medicines were donated prior to the trip, and sorted on-site. Additionally, the group set up an electronic medical records system so each patient’s care can be followed on return trips. I n t er p r o f e ssi o n a l T e ams

“One unique aspect of the July trip was The UCF College of Nursing sent two fac- that we worked with senior medical students ulty members, Laura Gonzalez, Ph.D., ARNP, from UCNE,” said nursing instructor Ariana CNE, and Ariana Gross, M.S.N., ARNP, and Gross. “Every UCF nursing and med student two undergraduate stuwas paired with an UCNE dents, Alexis Marano (UCF medical student to enhance Orlando) and Leah White “Medical missions allow the learning process.” (UCF Daytona) on the July Dr. Laura Gonzalez, an healthcare providers mission. Gross was also part assistant professor in the to work together in less of the December team where UCF College of Nursing, she supervised two other than optimal conditions, explains the significance of undergraduate nursing stuthe interprofessional teams, which is important dents, Amanda Hermida and “For many years, nursing Amanda Oyola (both UCF for team building and medicine have practiced Orlando). The students were in silos, and there hasn’t and interprofessional selected based on essays been a lot of interchange understanding.” they submitted on why they and exchange. The goal should be chosen. All are flu—Dr. Gonzalez moving forward is for nurses ent in Spanish. 4

University of Central Florida

and physicians to work together and to learn from each other.” Alexis Marano enjoyed the collaboration with the medical students, “It’s been great! We’ve been throwing out ideas with each other. As a nursing student, I bring something different, but I’ve been learning a lot from the medical students, both from the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.” Leah White concurred, “It’s been a really good opportunity because the med students are the same year as us with similar experience and backgrounds.” Dr. Gonzalez said the UCNE students provided a different perspective on how patients are cared for, and they were really eager to chip in and do whatever they needed to do, which was helpful. Marano says working in rural healthcare is a humbling experience. “Everyone works as a team for the same cause. Professional titles do not exist.” R u r a l H e a lthca r e “Many of our students have never had an opportunity to see rural healthcare, what we have in the United States versus what other countries don’t have,” said Dr. Gonzalez, who has a doctorate in nursing with emphasis on healthcare disparities. Her mindset is that patients deserve the same level of care and the same amount of respect, no matter where you are delivering care. “I want our students to come away

2012 UCF NURSING MAGAZINE, vol. 7  

UCF Nursing Magazine is published annually by the College of Nursing at the University of Central Florida for alumni, friends, national nurs...

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