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Intellect

BYU nursing students put skills to work in diverse volunteer activities

Three groups of students from Brigham Young University's College of Nursing spent spring term putting their skills to good use by volunteering to do some unique acts of community service in both domestic and international settings.

The students performed the service as part of their enrollment in Nursing 400, Global Health and Human Diversity, according to Rose Ann Jarrett, public relations supervisor for the College of Nursing.

The first group of students traveled to Ecuador where they served on the outskirts of Guayaquil. They assisted in neighborhood health centers by providing well-baby checkups, administering vaccines and teaching mothers and their children about hygiene and healthcare.

The students also spent one day each week helping to build houses with a Catholic organization called Hogar de Cristo, a group that provides financial aid and housing for members of the community who are in need.

A second group of students practiced their nursing skills by volunteering at Utah state correctional facilities. Accompanied by a registered nurse mentor and security personnel, two students at a time spent eight- to 12-hour shifts at the facilities.

The students participated in a variety of hands-on experiences, including surgical work, emergency care, central infirmary care and psychiatric and mental health work. They also spoke at religious services.

The third group of students worked with children at an elementary school in Wendover, Utah. They traveled to the school each week to interact with the children, follow up on health concerns with local families and teach healthcare-related lessons.

After the students helped the children in each class set health-related goals, they made a promise that if the children reached their goals of living healthier and more active lives, they would help provide a new soccer field by prepping the ground and laying sod.

At the end of the term, the students shed their nursing uniforms for old t-shirts and jeans. "They shoveled, raked, watered and laid sod for the soccer field," said nursing instructor Beth Luthy. "Since childhood obesity and diabetes are national concerns, it seemed appropriate to provide a safe area on which the elementary school students could play."

Writer: Aaron Searle

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