Seven Denver College of Nursing (DCN) students and two DCN faculty members provided six days of healthcare in Cambodia, caring for over 1,500 patients in six community acute care clinics, said Marguerite Distel, RN, DCN assistant professor and academic coordinator for DCN’s Global Health Perspectives (GHP) program.
In DCN’s first-ever healthcare trip to Cambodia, the student and faculty team partnered with the Loveland, CO-based nonprofit International Medical Relief (IMR), which works with universities across the country to help medical students participate in medical mission trips.
“Each day, at each clinic, an orderly line would form of people seeking care and help,” Distel said. “Our team would work quickly to treat as many people as possible each day. We were able to see first-hand the difficulties in providing healthcare to rural locations across the globe. For one clinic, the team had to abandon their bus and load their clinic supplies and over 30 people onto the back of a farm truck to make it to the clinic. The roads were impassable due to the rainy season.”
DCN students Leah Boisseaux, Kelsey DeShazo, Kayla Jenulis, Stephanie Massaro, Hannah Plath, Whitney Roth and Jean Sederberg were accompanied by Distel and Barbara Calo, RN. Four clinics were held in rural locations and two were in the city of Phnom Penh.
“We focused on the common conditions of headaches, abdominal and joint pain, dehydration and respiratory disorders,” Distel explained. “We performed health screenings, wound care and referrals to local healthcare providers, including local physicians, dentists and pharmacy staff who were members of the team. Additionally, we provided a community education seminar to 60 community leaders on topics ranging from basic hygiene and prevention of diarrhea to respiratory and mosquito-borne illnesses.”
Denver College of Nursing’s GHP program combines classroom training with in-field service-learning internships. The college partners with in-country nonprofits to make the best use of the healthcare infrastructure that exists in that country to allow for continued care of patients.