Nursing student travels to El Salvador

Nursing student Jessie Bongiovanni in El Salvador
Nursing student Jessie Bongiovanni in El Salvador

Feb. 22, 2013 - School of Nursing student Jessie Bongiovanni '14 recently spent five days in El Salvador ​administering health care to villagers.

The Jan. 26 to Feb. 3 trip was organized by Mission of Miracles, a faith-based organization from Syracuse, N.Y., that serves rural villages within the Episcopal Diocese of El Salvador.

The group stayed in San Salvador and traveled to a different village on each morning of the five-day mission, where they set up a clinic to offer medical, dental, vision and psychiatric services. Although the villages are served year-round by a doctor, dentist and optometrist, these health care professionals are only able to visit each site twice a month. With the aid of the mission travelers, the health care staff is able to see more patients than usual. Over the course of five days, the Mission of Miracles group saw more than 1,000 patients.

"The trip was honestly the best thing I have ever done," Bongiovanni said. "I was able to practice all the skills I had learned in nursing last semester, and even do things I had never had the chance to do before. I worked primarily with children, which I loved as that is what I see myself doing later on in my nursing career."

Bongiovanni assisted a nurse practitioner by taking the patients' vital signs, performing glucose and hemoglobin checks and obtaining medications. She also spent time talking with the villagers and recording their medical information.

"Seeing the conditions that these people live in was so eye-opening, and it really gave me a new perspective. They had so little, and were so grateful to us for providing them this health care, something we take for granted in the United States," she said.

"It was a truly life changing week, and I cannot wait to go back again next year."