Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Lessons Learned

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Lessons Learned

Article excerpt

"LOOK OUT FOR THE RAPIDS! OH BOY, I THINK WE'RE SINKING. There go our luggage and our medical supplies." These words were uttered as our canoe hit some unruly rapids and capsized. We were on a dugout canoe, powered by a small motor, going from village to village in the Amazon. Luckily, there were two other dugouts that retrieved our luggage and helped us get to shore, and by the time we unpacked and discarded many ruined supplies our canoe was dry. It was then that the motor burst into flames, shooting flames 20 feet into the air. Our boatmen dumped the canoe, put out the fire, and with the help of a screwdriver repaired the motor, and off we went once again in our dugout.

All of this occurred after we had safely navigated "El Camino Del Muerte," the Road of Death, purported to be the most dangerous road in the world, with an average death toll of one person a day. Within the span of a two-week period, eight nursing students and I survived the death road; saw our boat capsize and then catch fire; were invaded by squirrel monkeys; swam with dolphins while Pedro, a 12-foot alligator served as our lifeguard; slept on a beach only to be attacked by an overzealous population of sand fleas; ate grub worms; assisted in putting out a jungle fire; and treated 2,500 individuals with health concerns.

One of the challenges of being a nurse educator is meeting the needs of the students and the community. As our world becomes smaller, we will be much more likely to come into contact with individuals from different cultures. My initiation into the field of medical missions began several years ago, a direct consequence of a multiculturalism course I was teaching. Students gave presentations on a variety of cultures, and the class had opportunities to be engaged in multicultural events in our community. …

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