By Steven Rozecki, BSN Cohort 10
Our trip to Ecuador with The Global Initiatives March 11-20 was an experience like no other. Working directly in the local community, collaborating with local health care professionals, provided us with a unique opportunity to see health care in a way we had never seen before. One day we walked nine miles through the streets of Tumbaco, going door to door administering Polio vaccines and, in their native language of Spanish, educating families on maintaining immunizations.
This experience helped paint a picture of what their access to care is, what the community is like, and how they live day to day. An experience such as this epitomized the cultural emersion that we experienced throughout our time there. Working in the clinic, daycare centers, and schools, allowed us as future nurses to further develop our clinical skills. We performed assessments, patient education, and worked on our communication, with less resources and technology than we have access to in the U.S. This setting was better than any hospital.
In school we are taught the importance of respecting cultural diversity while providing care among communities within the United States. Traveling to Ecuador, we were placed in a position to see these lessons implemented into real life. As we worked directly with local providers, respecting their cultural norms, it challenged us to adapt our skills to their needs. As a result, we have grown more confident in ourselves to be definitive in our clinical opinions, to be adaptable, and to be seen as professionals.