October 24, 2007

Nurse practitioner students in Guatemala to provide health services for underserved population

Seven nursing students and two faculty members to spend a week in Central American country

Case nurses provide care in Guatemala

Seven nurse practitioner students from the Case Western Reserve University Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing are in Guatemala to provide volunteer health services for underserved Guatemalans with little or no access to health care.

The students are accompanied by Carol Savrin, associate professor of nursing and director of the Bolton School's M.S.N. program, and dermatology nurse practitioner Margaret Bobonich (NUR '00), a current student in the doctor of nursing practice (D.N.P.) program. The students are in the country from October 20-28, and are providing care at a clinic in San Raymundo. This facility was setup by Refuge International, an organization that incorporates health, education and research into a medical mission in areas where health care, adequate nutrition, clean water and education are lacking or nonexistent.

"Our students will be the primary practitioners providing the health care," said Bobonich of Chardon, Ohio. Bobonich may be familiar to many in Northeast Ohio and around the country for her appearance two years ago on the CBS-TV reality show Survivor: Guatemala. "When we went to Guatemala with Refuge International for the first time in October 2006, it was such a huge success and incredible experience for our students. We decided to do this on an annual basis."

Bobonich said her time in Guatemala during the filming of Survivor made her determined to share her experiences with younger nurses entering the profession by bringing them on her subsequent trips to the Central American country.

"When I saw both the beauty and poverty of Guatemala, I knew I had to return to the place that had blessed my life with such an incredible experience," she said. "Giving back was important. With very limited resources and little access to health care, the people of Guatemala have the highest infant mortality rate in Central America."

The nurse practitioner students making the trip to Guatemala have a range of experiences and concentrations in nursing. They include: Michael Ruszala, Christina Jee, Bonnie Kruszka, Denise Leone, Kathleen (Katie) Shannon, Lavonne Downing and Jennifer Brubaker. "We prefer to take students from such different practices as family nurse practitioners, pediatric nurse practitioners and nurse midwifery acute care nurses," Savrin said.

When the students return to the states, they will give a presentation at the school. They also will receive 50-60 clinical hours from this trip.

For more information, contact Laura Massie, 216.368.4442.

Posted by: Marsha Bragg, October 24, 2007 03:50 PM | News Topics: Alumni, Collaborations/Partnerships, Community Outreach, Faculty, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, HeadlinesMain, Healthcare, Provost Initiatives, Students

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.