Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Nurses go into fields to serve 'invisible' people

Each summer, nurses from Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing head to international sites in the developing world – and U.S. sites with conditions similar to the developing world – to spend several weeks caring for “invisible” people mired in abject poverty.

"Service learning trips teach students more than just clinical care,” says Linda McCauley, dean of the nursing school. “They offer students the opportunity to develop respect for unfamiliar cultures while facing real-world health-care challenges such as working with interpreters and medical supply shortages."

Just four hours south of Atlanta in Moultrie, Georgia, the nurses join the Migrant Farm Worker Family Health Program, where they treat adult farm workers in the evening and their children during the day. Watch the video reports from past trips, above and below, to learn more.

The migrant workers “are very appreciative, this may be the only health care they get during the year,” says Judith Wold, director of the Farm Worker Family Health Program. “And it’s a life-changing experience for many of these students, who don’t know where their food comes from.”

The experience is “a reality check,” agrees Maeve Howett, assistant professor in the school of nursing. For many Emory students, she says, “it’s hard to know what it’s like to work 16 hours in 100-degree temperatures. These are the people who bring the food to our table.”

The nurses are the first contact many of the migrant children have to a health care professional. “Especially, working with the children you realize while their parents may be undocumented, these children are the next cohort of our citizens," Howett says. "Reaching out to them and making sure they have good health care and food and housing is just a really important piece of our stewardship to the community.”

Surprising nuggets about poultry farming
African-Americans and the toll of AIDS

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