Nursing students from Montana State University (MSU) described their experience volunteering on Global Volunteers’ Reaching Children’s Potential (RCP) Program in Tanzania as “life-altering”, “extremely meaningful”, and “the best experience possible”.
Fourteen MSU nursing students and three staff and faculty eagerly and effectively engaged their skills and knowledge in service to rural village families in south-central Tanzania. During their two-week service-learning program, the nursing students assisted the medical staff at Global Volunteers’ Ipalamwa General Clinic, presented parent workshops at the Learning Center, and conducted home visits in several villages alongside RCP caregivers. The volunteers worked with and learned from and about the local people, while absorbing the public health realities of East African villages.
“I can’t even put into words how meaningful and life-changing this trip was for all of us.”Karli Whisenhunt, Montana State University Nursing Student and Tanzania Global Volunteer
Best Program Ever!
The students’ clinical instructor recounted, “I saw one of the most sophisticated comprehensive public health interventions I have ever observed. The effectiveness of interactive weekly home visits, workshops, health clinic, household technologies, and the co-op all together is so effective at changing the health of a community. This service project is one of the most interactive engaging service projects I have ever participated in. Global Volunteers uses the skills of the volunteers along with empowering those being served.” – Rebecca Rassi, MSN-FNP and Clinical Instructor.
And Rebecca’s students concurred. “I have volunteered abroad in India, Nepal, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. This program was by far the most organized program I have participated in. Also, the impact Global Volunteers is making here is substantial.” – Susanna Braun, MSU nursing student. “Being here was an honor and a privilege, and I am grateful this program exists to help kiddos reach their full potential and then some.” – Cate Rogerson, MSU nursing student. “The RCP Program is touching so many lives, and I feel so lucky that I got to be a part of it these past two weeks. Global Volunteers is doing such great work here in Ipalamwa!” – Julia Stock, MSU nursing student. “This was my first trip out of North America and my first ever service trip and I’m so glad that I spent it here with Global Volunteers. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.” – Karli Whisenhunt, MSU nursing student.
Better Nurses; Better People
The volunteer nurses described how their experiences in rural Tanzania will make them better nurses and better people. “As a nurse who is interested in both rural and humanitarian work, this experience has shown me that even the small things make such a big impact on others. I plan to pursue a career in helping people who have so little yet find so much joy in the simplicities of life.” – Michaela Pocius, MSU nursing student. “I was able to learn so many new skills that will contribute to my career as a nurse.” – Karli Whisenhunt, MSU nursing student. “I happily attended around 25 home visits with caregivers and had three days in the clinic performing assessments (and) diagnostics with the physician, delivering twins with an exceptional nurse midwife, and collecting lab diagnostics with a highly-trained phlebotomist. I’ve become so much more confident and proficient in my interactions with clients and my ability to make solutions when problems arise.” – Sophia Visger, MSU nursing student. “As a nursing student, my time here has been vital to my education and foundation as a future healthcare provider. I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for the world.” – Cecelia Kiesow, MSU nursing student. “You can’t participate in home visits, meet the amazing caregivers, or see and help the families without leaving a changed and better person.” – Anja Christensen, MSU nursing student. “My own hometown struggles with poverty and access to healthcare, and my time spent here gave me a renewed spirit of campaigning for health for all peoples.” – Rebecca Schreiner, MSU nursing student. “This experience has been life-changing.” – Natalie Dulac, MSU nursing student.
“This experience has been life-changing.”Natalie Dulac, Montana State University Nursing Student and Tanzania Global Volunteer
“This service project is one of the most interactive engaging service projects I have ever participated in.”Rebecca Rassi, MSN-FNP. Montana State University Clinical Instructor and Tanzania Global Volunteer
Skills Learned; Skills Applied
When asked what they learned from their time in Tanzania, the volunteers have a lot to say. “I was able to learn so many new skills that will contribute to my career as a nurse. I got so much practice with patient education, I learned and was able to practice how to draw blood, and I assisted in the delivery of a baby – things I have never done before. Through this experience, I was able to experience a way of life that vastly differs from my own.” – Karli Whisenhunt, MSU nursing student. “I loved learning about the differences between our community and customs. I was able to assist Dr. Silas in a newborn’s resuscitation and learned so much! He is a great teacher. The local people have been so kind and it is great to see firsthand the impacts that we have.” – Lille Brott, MSU nursing student. “I think as much knowledge as I was able to share, I may have learned two-fold from the local people and Global Volunteers staff. Grateful is an understatement.” – Cate Rogerson, MSU nursing student. “I worked with a caregiver and another volunteer to listen to, talk with, and educate mothers and women. I learned an incredible amount about public health. I also learned how a lack of education for women about their own bodies can greatly impact their health. It emphasized the need for education and health promotion, as many of the problems we faced could be prevented.” – Natalie Dulac, MSU nursing student. “I was able to meet many women – beautiful, strong women – and get to know them as moms, sisters, and daughters. The role they play in their community and how hard they work for their children. A mother’s love is unchanging and constant in every area of the world.” – Kayla Lambert, MSU nursing student. “Whatever my expectations were, I think they were far exceeded during my time in Ipalamwa, Tanzania. The relationships that I built helped me to learn about the local culture, the strengths, the challenges, and the similarities and differences with my own. I saw the great sense of community as well as the domestic struggles that women in particular face. It is difficult to sum up all that I have learned, but I know I will take my experiences from here and continue learning from them in the future.” – Sadie Wilson, MSU nursing student. “I was motivated by the unique opportunity to participate in a complex, successful, growing public health intervention. I learned that Tanzanians are very generous with their time. Dr. Silas, the Ipalamwa General Clinic Chief Medical Officer, spent so much time with 14 nursing students and two faculty.” – Laura Larsson, Ph.D. and Professor of Nursing.
The nursing students utilized their medical skills on behalf of the families in rural Tanzania making a significant difference in the lives of parents and their children. “I contributed to the community by providing the medical knowledge I had received from schooling. I was able to answer many amazing questions during home visits as well as educate mothers about toddler safety, the importance of breastfeeding, post-partum depression, STIs, nutrition, and much more. Not only was I able to teach those in the community but I was also able to learn about a new culture.” – Camille Burroughs, MSU nursing student. “I was also able to work in the Ipalamwa General Clinic drawing blood and running tests, giving vaccines, and watching a Nexplanon removal and replacement” – Cate Rogerson, MSU nursing student. “Working closely in the clinic with the doctors, midwives, and other clinicians, I participated in on-the-spot, hands-on, rural healthcare. I learned that my skills are very valuable to the communities I am serving and to the people that I am interacting with.” – Cecelia Kiesow, MSU nursing student.
The dedicated MSU nursing students, faculty, and staff serving on Global Volunteers RCP Program made a significant impact in these Tanzania villages and contributed to their own education, knowledge, and careers. We thank MSU leaders for enabling their students to participate in this meaningful and enriching experience and for providing invaluable resources to our community partners. Montana State University’s Nursing Department will serve in Tanzania again in November 2023. Global Volunteers and the families in south central Tanzania look forward to their ongoing service to children and families in need.
Call our Strategic Partnerships Department at (651) 407-6138 to visit about how your students can positively impact children’s lives by volunteering for one, two, or three weeks.
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