Nursing Students With—and on—a Mission
Juniors Return to Haiti to Teach at an Orphanage
—and Encounter an Actual Medical Outbreak
PLU Nursing students Madison Gatterman and Sarah Jamieson recently traveled to Quanaminthe, Haiti, as part of a mission team offering medical support and education at an orphanage—and unexpectedly ended up in the middle of a real-life medical crisis.
During their trip, Chikungunya Fever broke out. Villagers and mission workers, including Jamieson’s father, were stricken. Working alongside registered nurses, Gatterman and Jamieson helped treat the fever patients, giving them sponge baths and distributing Tylenol and Advil.
It was an extreme opportunity to demonstrate a practical application of—and love for—nursing. And both women, juniors in PLU’s BSN program, say the trip changed their outlook on healthcare and education.
Three years ago the students took a similar trip, which was similarly inspiring. “I didn’t realize it until much later, but my first trip to Haiti in 2011 really had a great influence on my decision to become a nurse,” Gatterman said. “I knew that I wanted to work somewhere in the medical field, but after reflecting on my experiences with the nurses I worked with in Haiti, I realized they had a big influence on my decision.”
Both women said they also formed special bonds with their fellow mission workers and the people of Haiti. “Haiti is a very difficult place to be,” Jamieson said. “But the people make all the sacrifices worth it.”
They both hope to use their degrees to continue helping people worldwide after graduating, and they both said they came back from Haiti with a renewed appreciation for the education they receive at PLU. “I gained a new perspective on the privileged life I live,” Gatterman said.
The trip was organized through an organization called NEHLM, Nord Est Haiti Lutheran Mission. The nonprofit organization is co-sponsored by the students’ church, Lamb of God Lutheran Church.