the team provided care for nearly 2,000 Haitians.
A team of 11 students, alumni and faculty from Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing (BSMCON) returned to Richmond last week after serving a weeklong mission in Haiti. From May 15-22, the team provided care to roughly 2,000 underserved Haitians in the Northern Central Plateau region; these individuals would not have received health care otherwise.
Since 2000, Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing has conducted annual mission trips to Haiti, where the goal is to immerse the group in another culture and to provide nursing care to the underserved – following the Bon Secours mission of providing quality medical care, with compassion, to individuals in need. The mission trip gives the nursing students the opportunity to learn how to use nursing and assessment skills to help others – without the comfort zone of hospitals and technology.
“The mission team goes through an intense week of providing care to hundreds of patients,” said Amy Feurer, faculty member and trip facilitator. “It’s a meaningful and rewarding experience to be able to improve the quality of life for so many. The mission trip is truly evidence of the College’s commitment to the Bon Secours mission of reaching individuals in need with compassionate care.”
Each day, the Bon Secours nursing team provided care and education to roughly 200 to 300 patients daily – from sunrise to sunset and mainly in the municipality of Savanette. The team taught patients about water purification, hygiene, skin treatments and wound care education, as well as administering anti-parasitic medications and vitamins.
Before they left Haiti, the nursing team connected patients with specialized needs with care providers in the vicinity, ensuring proper follow-up care.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I was preparing, but once I got there, it was better than I ever could imagine,” said Monica Coleman, a BSMCON student on the mission team. This was Coleman’s first mission trip, and her first time traveling outside the United States.
“Serving Haiti and its people gives you a different perspective on life here in the United States. It makes you appreciate all that you have. I would say ‘do it’ to anyone considering, and I’m hoping to do it again,” she said.
Coleman and the six other BSMCON students underwent rigorous requirements in being selected for the mission team. This includes having completed a minimum of two semesters of nursing courses at the college. As part of the application process, students were required to write an essay, obtain faculty recommendation and pass a panel interview by faculty advisors. Once accepted to the team, they were required to complete a course in transcultural nursing.
“The people we served were welcoming and appreciative of us,” added Coleman. “Knowing I was making a difference in their lives had a real impact on me. This experience will last forever.”