NORTH HAVEN – April 21, 2016 – A group of Quinnipiac University School of Nursing students and professors traveled to Leon, Nicaragua from March 12-19, where they provided care and gave anesthesia to patients in the city hospital.
The students, Natalie Hutchinson, Sarah McDevitt and Rachel Petree, are all doctoral students in the nurse anesthesia track. Judy Thompson, director of the nurse anesthesia program, and Karita Kack, assistant director of the program, accompanied them.
“Our students did cases with the doctors who were so very welcoming to them,” Thompson said. “It gave us all a chance to see how anesthesia is given in a poor country with few of the facilities that we have here.”
The students spent the week giving anesthesia to many Nicaraguans, from newborns to the elderly. They are the first group of Quinnipiac anesthesia students to provide care in a Nicaraguan hospital. They praised the doctors for welcoming and teaching them new techniques.
“Despite the language barrier, everyone was incredibly welcoming and kind,” said McDevitt, a second-year student. “The staff was eager to teach and was also interested in knowing how we provide care here.”
Petree, also a second-year student, said, “The anesthesiologists seemed to really enjoy having us there working with them. I think we all formed a very nice, cohesive relationship.”
It was an eye-opening experience for them after seeing how well the anesthesia team provides such good care with limited resources.
“We watched them do surgery on a two-day old preemie with no blood pressure cuff because they didn’t have the right cuff size,” McDevitt said. “They reuse equipment that we would never dream of reusing.”
After seeing what the hospital had, Petree said she felt grateful and lucky for the resources that are provided and available in the United States.
“It was nice to be able to use different anesthesia machines and medications that I had never used before,” she said. “The anesthesia providers are so proficient at what they do and I learned so much from them in our short time there.”
The students and faculty believe the experience was valuable and will always cherish the opportunity. Thompson hopes this will be an ongoing relationship.
“The doctors that we worked with were so impressed by the students that they have invited them back next year to work with them,” she said.
Quinnipiac’s School of Nursing offers bachelor’s-, master’s- and doctoral-level education to nearly 700 students each year. The school’s mission is to provide leadership in nursing and health care through innovative undergraduate and graduate education that embraces holism, interprofessionalism and inclusivity.
The BSN, MSN, and DNP programs at Quinnipiac are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The nurse anesthesia program has been approved by the Council on Accreditation for nurse anesthesia programs.