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Dec. 8, 2014

BSNS on a mission take flight on annual service trip

By Ashli Speed

BSN

Cleveland State University's Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSNs) on a Mission is preparing for what has become an annual trip. This year the group of upperclassmen pursuing their BSN degree and medical professionals will be traveling to San Juan de la Maguna in the Dominican Republic.

Karen Pace, faculty adviser of the BSNs on a Mission trip, has traveled to the Dominican Republic multiple times, as well as Peru.

“It’s a whole different experience," Pace, clinical assistant professor in the school of nursing, said. "You’re doing medical care in a third world country. Here we have a lot of medical supplies and medications and there it’s very basic care — students get to see the difference in the type of care.”

BSNs on a Mission offers Cleveland State nursing students the opportunity to travel with medical professionals to practice medicine in a third world country while also being immersed in the culture.

From May 30-June 6 they will live and work together. The students will travel to remote parts of the Dominican Republic and set up medical stations.

BSNs on a Mission travels through Solid Rock International — a Christian group. Solid Rock will provide room and board and transportation for the students.They will also be traveling with translators to make it easy to communicate with patients.

The trip gives Cleveland State nursing students a hands-on experience in practicing medicine in an environment many may never encounter in the United States.

The trip allows students to participate and assist in providing vaccines, health screenings with triage stations where vitals, such as blood pressure and pulse, are taken and the administering of over-the-counter medications.

Over the course of a week, the group will see about 800 patients. They will have the opportunity to educate the children on the importance of hand washing and oral hygiene.

Local schools have donated tooth brushes and tooth paste that the group will take with them on the trip.

Last year, they received donations from the Cleveland Indians and were able to give children Indians T-shirts.

“Last year, we had somebody that knew somebody at the Indians and made a donation," Pace said. "It was really, really nice to be able to take the shirts with us — we gave them to a Pee Wee baseball team.”

The cost of the trip is $1,300 per person. The students are also raising money to cover the cost of the medications they will be taking with them.

In an effort to cover the cost of attendance, Megan Stumpf, a junior Nursing major, and the other students attending have been holding a number of fundraisers throughout the school year.

“We’ve sold Tupperware and right now we are selling Malley’s chocolate bars," Stumpf said.

The group has also received donations in the form of uniforms for the students and supplies.

“A lot of places out there have donated to us to make it successful,” Pace said.

The trip will not be all work. The group will play baseball with a Dominican team, go out for Dominican food, be able to walk through the town and attend a church service. They get the opportunity to see and learn about the culture.

“I love to travel," Stumpf said. "After graduation, I plan on joining a traveling nurses company or Doctor’s Without Borders or the Peace Corps.”

This year’s trip will be Stumpf’s first year attending.

Tentatively, 30 students — three nurse practitioners, three registered nurses and two physicians — will be going on the trip. Two of the nurse practitioners attending the trip are graduates of Cleveland State’s nursing school.

In order to see patients, the students must be accompanied by physicians and nurse practitioners.

“This is a very fulfilling experience," Pace said. "I do not know that everybody has the opportunity to do it."