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Peter Schindler, BSN '12

Knowledge of culture, international nursing practices and real-world experience are among the skills a group of University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing students brought home with them following a study trip to Peru last spring.

“This partnership allows students to meet their community clinical course objectives while becoming immersed in a new and diverse culture,” said Patricia Vander Loop, assistant clinical professor.

The students traveled to the Alto Cayma area, which is a small, rural community near the major city of Arequipa. The group also traveled to Lima, Puno and Cusco.

“The 21 students volunteered in a kitchen that serves approximately 800 people living in poverty, they assisted in care of children in the daycare, did home visits and demographic surveys, and cared for individuals and families in the health clinic,” Vander Loop said.

Brittany Wall BSN ’12, of Mount Horeb, who was a senior nursing student at the time, said she was thankful for the opportunity to interact with the people of Peru and give them invaluable nursing advice.

“Being able to use our nursing expertise while providing nursing care and advice to people who would otherwise have none was truly a priceless experience,” Wall said.

Sarina Gitter, BSN '12

She also said the trip gave her a greater appreciation for technology’s role.

“Actively participating in the healthcare team at the clinics and hospitals taught me the importance of looking at the patient, not the machine, to determine the problem,” she said. “I really had to rely on my instincts and observational skills.”

The conditions in Peru also forced the students to learn about themselves. “They were exposed to extreme poverty and very sad stories,” Vander Loop said. “The final conclusions focused on the value of community members that work and care for each other. They commented frequently that this experience would help them to care for families in the U.S. with an eager and open-minded attitude.”

International study opportunities through the College of Nursing.

Contributed by Audralynn See ’12

Photos by Patricia Vander Loop