Students learn medicine and more abroad

MARQUETTE — A group of students from varying fields of study recently got the opportunity to experience a whole different world.

Twenty Northern Michigan University students visited San Ignacio, Belize, to help gain hands-on clinical experience. Students of different disciplines worked together on the annual trip to see what life — and medicine — is like in the Central American nation.

“Since we have different majors of students from nursing to community health to premedical, we want [them to] have a unique kind of experience through our program,” said Dr. Yuba Gautam, Professor of Community Health at NMU’s School of Health and Human Performance.

“It opens their eyes to a completely different way of life — to seeing how people live with very little resources,” added Dr. Kristi Robinia, a Professor of Nursing at NMU’s School of Nursing.

“It’s kind of interesting, because they don’t have any narcotics there like we have,” Nursing major Jordyn MacDonald said. “There, if you break an arm, your highest pain med is Advil or Tylenol.”

“You’re going to experience different patients every single visit I guess, so you don’t know what you’re going to be coming across,” added Nursing major Elli McCole.

Students gathered research data and conducted health screenings for diabetes, which is a significant problem in rural areas of Belize. They also spent time with both elementary students and elderly residents in a long-term care facility to find out more about the area’s culture and help address health issues.

[Photo courtesy Northern Michigan University]