On January 7, 2015 a group of thirteen baccalaureate nursing students and two Master’s prepared nursing instructors from Trinity Christian College traveled from the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago to Quito, Ecuador. After a brief orientation to the Ecuadorian health care system and the local culture, the group traveled approximately 5 hours to the jungle village of Archidona to offer two health clinics. We met up with a local missionary family and provided a health clinic in an open air shelter to numerous families and also to a group of boys from a local baseball program. We provided basic health screenings to patients including vital signs, assessments, treatment of minor health issues, parasite treatment, and general health education.
From Archidona we traveled to Shandia where we stayed for the duration of our time in the jungle. Here we partnered with a local pastor who was well acquainted with the villages we would visit. We offered three health clinics in Shandia , two at the local school and one at the church we attended. Additional clinics were held in the villages of Serena and Santa Rosa. A total of approximately 600 patients were seen in all of the clinics. The most common problems treated were backaches, joint pain, rashes, and parasites. The patients were very welcoming of our care and grateful for the 525 family health and hygiene packs that we distributed that included items provided by The Henry Shein Cares Foundation. Nursing student Jennifer Monaco commented, “The simplest things made the biggest difference to the people of Ecuador.”
We were accompanied at all of our clinics by three wonderful translators, one of which was also an R.N. who helped to facilitate our patient intake and care. Students educated patients on topics such as hand washing, parasite prevention, oral care techniques, and nutrition during pregnancy. Our clinics concluded on January 13 and we returned to Quito where we spent a few days prior to departing for Chicago on the morning of January 15. It was a very productive and satisfying trip to see students using their nursing skills to provide care and education to an underserved population of people in Ecuador.