Nursing Where the Need is Greatest
For residents of rural Honduras, where electricity and clean water are scarce and poverty is a way of life, a trip to the hospital to treat illness is practically impossible. Recently, a Goodwin student joined with other volunteer nurses to bring the medicine to the villages and areas where it is needed most.
Melissa Stauffer, a member of the RN-to-BSN Program and a nurse at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, recently completed a volunteer trip to Honduras with Medical Ministry International. On August 7, Melissa presented a slideshow of her eight-day medical mission to Goodwin staff and faculty.
Melissa and her fellow volunteers traveled to some of the most destitute and poorest villages in the western hemisphere, setting up clinics to provide care to rural Hondurans. The volunteers slept in bug tents and traveled by pickup truck over unpaved roads, often wading through rivers to get to the people who were relying on their care.
“It’s really rewarding what you can do for them with just pennies, really,” Melissa said.
Villagers paid $1 to receive optical, general medical, and dental exams. In many cases, parents forwent their own care to pay for their children. The stories were heartbreaking, according to Melissa. There was a girl who, as the result of meningitis, had extremely limited motor skills. Some families traveled eight hours on foot to attend the clinic, and children wouldn’t complain during procedures despite the lack of anesthesia.
“These kids would just sit there enduring the pain of the treatment,” Melissa said.
By the end of the trip, the clinic had traveled to several villages, seen a total of 1,400 patients, and filled 4,500 prescriptions. While the villagers received invaluable care, Melissa got new perspective on her work as a nurse and said she has a new place in her heart for the many people she met and cared for, especially children.
“I’m completely more dedicated to community nursing,” Melissa said.