What did you learn or gain from your Interprofessional international experience in Nicaragua?
“It was a great learning experience for me to see other types of living conditions and healthcare needs. I was able to practice my skills in a difficult and restricted setting, which gave me more confidence in being able to provide adequate care here in the U.S.”
“This experience showed me the possibility of developing service projects in impoverished nations. Further along in my career, I hope to develop or become involved in a similar service project.”
—Occupational therapy student
“It was a great opportunity to learn about another country, it's culture, and people, as well as gain insight into myself, my field, my staff, and other professions.”
“It is always beneficial to be reminded of the different ways that people may live and to view your own culture from a different perspective.”
—Physical therapy student
“Going to Nicaragua was a valuable experience in and of itself by developing and honing my skills as a primary care provider in assessing the needs of each of the patients. But it was more than that.
The most beneficial part, I believe, was seeing and discussing with the other health professions what their scope of practice actually consists of. I honestly had no idea exactly what OT did before going to Nicaragua, but now I truly understand their role with the patient and I now know how important it is to refer my own patients to them (and the other professions) in receiving the best possible care.”
—Physician Assistant student
“Learning how to accomplish goals in a setting so different from what I am used to is invaluable. Understanding various structures and bureaucracies is a skill I imagine I will need to use in my career if I want to create change.”
—Occupational therapy student
“You hear about third world poverty, see pictures, and feel prepared, until you touch down in the heart of it. The biggest change for me, was from a place of almost-pity, at the beginning of the trip, to an admiration for the people of Nicaragua, and an understanding that different does not equate to better or worse. We have a different set of challenges in the States, but we do not necessarily have it better or worse. They are hard-working, loving, and family oriented, like members of my community.”
“My experience with the interprofessional Nicaragua trip has solidified my belief that we are all better practitioners if we understand the role of other healthcare providers. Each year students from every discipline become better future practitioners as they learn more about what skills a pharmacist, physical therapist, physician assistant, occupational therapist, or dental hygienist has to offer.
"As a pharmacist I've had the opportunity to interact with physician assistant students, helping them understand ways a pharmacist can assist them in decision-making. I learned more about the unique perspective each profession has as well as how much our knowledge and skills overlap. I've learned simple things about my own healthcare like the best way to brush my teeth, and ways to create adaptive equipment out of common household items in cases of injury or disability. I even learned things about my own profession like when a dental hygiene student helped me with metabolism information on dental anesthetics.”
—Pharmacy faculty member
"As a faculty members who have been involved with the program since its inception, student reports on feedback surveys indicate that students gained an appreciation for the concerns of those living in poverty, learned about the needs of elders living in an economically marginalized country, learned strategies to promote health, gained a better understanding of methods and the need to build social capital, and have become skilled at adapting interventions in the moment for unexpected circumstances and under less-than-ideal conditions. Some students have referred to the trip as a life-changing experience."
—Occupational & Physical therapy faculty members