Over spring break, FSU nursing student Kelly McCarthy, along with thirteen other college students from around the nation, had the opportunity to spend a week in Belize (a country located on the north eastern coast of Central America) visiting the remote villages of Pomona and Hope Creek, providing healthcare to those in need. Kelly was able to be a part of this International Service Learning (ISL) “medical mission” thanks to a scholarship provided through the Ferris State Honors
Program. While in Belize, Kelly and her mission group worked by a triage-priority basis at a clinic set up in the villages. “Because we could only see a certain amount of patients, the house visits were used as a triage or where we received basic information about the patient and provided them with an appointment card for the preceding day’s clinic,” Kelly explained. “My group set up clinics in each of the villages to provide care and medication for the community members. I was able to utilize my Spanish communication skills and practice my diagnostic technique.” When not working in the clinic, Kelly was still able to learn many techniques that will be crucial to her future career as a nurse such as how to do sutures and injection. To relax after a hard day’s work, the students were able to enjoy the many adventures of Belize.
They had the opportunity to snorkel, go cave tubing, climb waterfalls, hike, and play with the children living in the village. Overall, this trip was a very positive experience that helped influence the volunteers’ perspectives on their future careers. “Being in a country where medical care or even life necessities are not as easily obtained as they are here, has greatly opened my eye,” Kelly stated while explaining her experience. This mission trip allowed Kelly to form relationships with her fellow volunteers and connections with people all across the country. Though she just got back to the US a few weeks ago, Kelly is already hoping to volunteer her time and service through another mission trip similar to this in the future. “All of my patients had hardships to endure and it was informative to listen and understand what they go through, yet the happiness and optimism they still have, regardless of their lack of medical treatment, shoes, or even food. I would love to participate in a program as such in the future because not only was I able to help the Belizean people, but also helped myself.”
This article was written by Endeavor staff member Nicole Christy. Few quotes and pictures were taken from the Future Honors Students of Ferris State University Facebook page.