As many of you know, I started an accelerated BSN nursing program at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio this past summer and will be graduating in August! As part of our population health and clinical immersion classes this summer, we were presented with the opportunity to travel to Guatemala for a 10-day medical mission trip. The team is limited to only 5 nursing students and I was fortunate enough to be selected to go!
I will be traveling to San Cristobal in Guatemala July 13-24th with four other nursing students, our instructor, and a team from the San Antonio Guatemala Endeavor (SAGE). They are a local chapter of HELPS International, a Dallas-based non-profit that sends inter-professional medical teams to Guatemala once a month.
Here are the websites if you want to learn more about them:
Each day that we are in San Cristobal, I will rotate through a different site in the hospital. I will spend a day triaging patients, assisting in the operating room, monitoring and caring for the patients post-operatively as they wake up from anesthesia, and in a general "med-surg" room, which allows the patients to recover after their surgery before they return home. The hospital that we will be working at is very primitive and aside from a small general clinic, is only open when our medical volunteer teams visit once per month. The hospital lacks many of the luxuries we have in the USA (such as electronic heart and respiratory monitors, medication IV pumps, etc); this will allow me the opportunity to really develop my assessment and care skills.
In addition to the experiences I will get in the hospital, I will have the opportunity to spend one day in the community helping to install onil stoves in traditional Mayan homes. This stove has made such a positive impact on their lives by reducing burns from open flame cooking and decreasing the incidence of asthma and respiratory-related problems due to a lack of ventilation for the smoke.
(HELPS describes these stoves further and also includes pictures on their website: For centuries the indigenous population, the Mayan, have cooked
their meals using open flame three-stone fires on the floors of their one-room
homes. This traditional method of cooking is the cause of rampant medical
and environmental problems throughout rural Guatemala. After
an investigation of the cultural and technological factors
surrounding three-stone fires, HELPS International developed the
"ONIL" Stove: a durable stove that minimizes smoke
and burns, and reduces wood use by 70%.)
I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity, but must raise the funds to participate. If you would like to support my work with this mission trip, I would be so appreciative of anything that you can give- every little bit adds up. After traveling to Russia nearly 8 years ago on a mission trip, I have been itching to participate again and give back to those that truly need it. I believe this is a unique and special opportunity that will allow me to do just that. Thank you very much for all of your support, it means so much to me.
All my best,