Igniting Students Passion for Global Health and International Work

Ghana's Blog 2013 

The Anna Vaughn College of Nursing continues to provide senior students the option of study abroad. In spring 2009 students and faculty spent a month at one of the following locations: Benin City, Nigeria or Roca Blanca Mission Base, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Experiences such as those described below are essential to igniting students' passion for global health and international work. Many students arrive at ORU with a heart for missions and know that they will use their profession to minister to others through short-term or long-term missions at some point in their lives. Traveling to another country, relating to persons of diverse cultures, and engaging in meaningful work affirms God's calling on their lives. People around the world are desperate for health care and the physical, emotional, and spiritual healing that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Some of the students who choose to participate in an international clinical experience will return to those countries to serve the people.


Faith MediplexStudents and faculty arrived in Benin City to the welcome of the Benson Idahosa Family on whose compound they resided during the month. The days were filled with work and fun.
Danelle DeLange, one of the students on the trip wrote the following to her family and supporters.

"Our month in Nigeria was extremely busy. Mondays through Fridays, we spent the days working at Faith Medi-Plex Hospital. We jumped right in and began caring for patients on every unit (Neonatal ICU, Labor/Delivery & Postpartum, Pediatric, Medical, Emergency and Operating Rooms) and participated in specialty and outpatient clinics."

"Because Nigeria is a third-world country, the standard of health care is much lower than that of the United States. Doctors and nurses wear mud-boots to deliver babies and perform surgeries because blood splashes on the floors. Nurses share "special flip-flops" as infection control protocol. Also, nurses use equipment (such as catheters) from one patient to another, without sterilization. Cockroaches, rats, and geckos became our hospital friends. Needless to say, our eyes were opened to a whole new system of healthcare."

operating room"It was a blessing that the Nigerians spoke English because we were able to communicate with the nurses and patients, teaching them many things that they had never learned-from something as simple as the importance of hand washing to assessing newborns for gestational age. On one occasion, we took care of a 15-pound newborn. (And, yes, it was delivered via C-section!) Because the mother had gestational diabetes, the infant's blood glucose fluctuated widely, and the nurses had a very difficult time controlling it. Fortunately, our professors helped the nurses to manage the infant's care. Because the Nigerian nurses thought the infant needed to lose weight, they were restricting his caloric intake to 40 calories per feeding. Actually, the infant required 190 calories per feeding!"

"We also observed C-sections and appendectomies. These operations will be engraved on my memory forever! One of my classmates passed out three times during the same surgery. Needless to say, I have a renewed appreciation the sterile technique, sharp instruments, and air conditioning of American hospitals."

"Feb and Laurie Idahosa shared their vision of opening a state-of-the-art children's hospital in Benin City which will serve as a model institution. They asked us to help them make the dream a reality. So, after long days working in the hospital, we spent hours researching and formulating plans for Big Ben's Children's Hospital. We designed a building plan, wrote a mission statement, formulated goals, made exhaustive lists of essential equipment and supplies, proposed an organizational chart, prepared a budget, and wrote policies and procedures. On many occasions we felt that nurses in outfitswe had taken on something that was way over our heads, but the Lord worked a miracle. None of us are quite sure how we did what we did in one month's time, but we developed something incredible. Before we left, Laurie Idahosa presented our work to a hospital board in Maryland, and they have already donated hospital equipment worth millions of dollars. AVSON will continue to partner with the Idahosa Family for this vision."

"During our month's time in Benin City, we also worked at an orphanage, visited numerous schools, attended church four-five times weekly, hiked through the rainforest and climbed a 14-story tree, attended four weddings, shopped in the markets, and had a TON OF fun building lasting friendships."