Aaron and Lauren’s OADN immersion experience in Guatemala

Cecil College’s Aaron Boyd, nursing clinical skills lab manager, and Lauren Dawson, assistant professor of nursing, are spending part of their summer in Central America on an Organization for Associate Degree Nursing Guatemala Faculty Abroad Immersion Experience.

They are part of a group of professionals administering basic medical and nursing care, including health assessments, treating basic skin disorders, oral care, providing vitamins, and offering health education on various topics. Their itinerary also allows for some time to tour cultural and historical sites.

Objectives for this cultural immersion experience are to develop scholarship within the discipline of nursing, understand the importance of teaching transcultural care in nursing programs, increase cultural awareness as a provider of care to promote a more holistic approach in caring for patients through their cultural context, develop collaborative relationships internationally, develop leadership in organizing a transcultural experience, understand the importance of providing effective transcultural nursing care to diverse populations, and provide basic nursing care to an underserved population.

Technology and time permitting, Aaron and Lauren will be providing some updates along the way on this blog. Best wishes for a safe trip and a great experience from everyone at Cecil College!

We are off to Guatemala

Lauren and I have boarded our flight from Philadelphia to Miami and are off to participate in the OADN Guatemala Faculty Abroad Immersion Experience! Along with six other nursing faculty from associate degree nursing programs across the country, we will be providing health education and a clinic for residents of Virginia, a small village in the Ixcán municipality of Guatemala. We would like to thank all who have supported us as we have prepared for our trip.

We have arrived

Our group consists of seven nursing faculty from various parts of the country, including Illinois, Connecticut, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri and Maryland. We all gathered in Miami and flew to Guatemala together the next morning.

Our trip planning started with several conference calls and emails over the past months and coordinating what supplies we would each bring. There will be no supplies awaiting us in Guatemala, so we must bring anything needed, especially all the gloves we will each use during our clinic! Each of us is limited to two checked bags and one carry-on. Furthermore, each checked bag must weigh no more than 50 pounds. It has been a struggle for us to bring what we need yet remain judicious in the amount of baggage weight.

After some lost supplies were rerouted and reclaimed, we were set to depart Miami. The TSA lines were long, but the airport personnel did a great job processing everyone in a timely manner.

We took off from Miami on American Airlines and soon found ourselves flying over the Florida Keys. Our two hour and 48-minute flight took us over Cuba and Belize before touching down in Guatemala City. The flight was relatively uneventful with some rain and lots of clouds. Upon arriving in Guatemala City, we were welcomes by a musical performance and then processed through customs. As we exited the airport, the entrance was crowded with people awaiting the arrival of other passengers.

We were greeted by our guide, Ruban, along with our translators, Hilda, Carla and Carmen. We loaded into a small but comfortable bus driven by Thomas, and we were soon on our way to Playa Grande in Ixcán.

The drive to Playa Grande takes 12 hours, so we stopped in a hotel in Coban for dinner and an overnight stay. Since we were plagued with construction and traffic along the way, we did not arrive at the hotel until approximately 8:30 p.m. We are continuing our trek to Playa Grande this morning.

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