NICEVILLE — For several years now, the nursing program at Northwest Florida State College has offered an opportunity for nursing students in the bachelor and associate degree programs to travel to Guatemala.

The trip is educational for both students and faculty and allows students to contribute to a healthcare delivery system different from the United States one.

The RN to bachelor of science students provided health educational programs to underserved women and children. With the help of a translator, participants received information focusing on prevention.

Additionally, these undergraduate students complete a family assessment assignment, which is challenging when the home is a one- or two-bedroom metal structure and all communication goes through a translator.

All of the students visited a public hospital and participated in a outpatient public health clinic. A key takeaway from the trip was the Guatemalan facility nursing staff's dedication to providing the best care to their patients with their existing resources.

 The American Nurses’ Association’s theme for National Nurses’ Week (May 6-12) focuses on culturally congruent care, reflecting on the importance of "understanding the values and beliefs” nurses bring to their interactions with patients. Students who participated in the outreach program in Guatemala truly have added to their value and belief system.

Those who went on the trip were nursing faculty members Dr. Marty Walker, Dr. Beth Norton, and Dr. Elizabeth Robison; RN to BSN students Anabell Nearhoff, Jessica Parkin, Haley Wester and Heather Wright; and associate degree students Courtney Barrow, Britney Bissereth, Lisa Cotter and Kathryn Swoboda.