Chamberlain College of Nursing Professor Leads Students on International Nursing Service Project to Kenya

Service project exposes students to the front lines of healthcare

Dec 03, 2010, 16:03 ET from Chamberlain College of Nursing St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 3, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Chamberlain College of Nursing St. Louis campus professor Dr. Susan Fletcher, EdD, MSN and a group of six St. Louis campus students recently returned from an international nursing service project in Kenya, where they provided basic healthcare and health education to residents of the Kenyan village of Oyugis.

The two-week international nursing service project was part of Chamberlain College of Nursing's experiential learning program, which provides students with opportunities to demonstrate and develop their clinical proficiency while earning course credit through community health initiatives both locally and abroad.

The group traveled as part of a 22-person Project Helping Hands (PHH) team. PHH is a volunteer organization of nurses and doctors who dedicate two weeks of their time to help treat illnesses and educate residents of remote areas around the world. Each morning, the group hiked three miles from their residence to the outer village to set up clinics. Accompanied by a Kenyan doctor, dentist and translator, they worked at the clinics until sundown, sometimes meeting with more than 300 patients a day.

"In Kenya, I had the opportunity to use my clinical skills and treat conditions that many nurses in the U.S. never see," said Brittani Crowe, a Chamberlain student and service project participant. "Through this experience, I not only gained confidence I never knew I had, but I also gained a great deal of compassion for people from all walks of life. This eye-opening experience will certainly impact me throughout my nursing career."

Dr. Fletcher and the nursing students diagnosed and treated a number of conditions that are considered relatively minor in the U.S. but can have serious consequences if left untreated. Some of these conditions included scabies, ear infections, malaria and worms.

One particular patient interaction was memorable for Chamberlain student Carrie Bakalor. As part of the healthcare clinic, she examined a woman and found the most severe case of athlete's foot she'd ever seen. A health problem so common and easily treatable in the United States had progressed to the point that it was eating away at the patient's feet down to the bone. Bakalor was amazed the woman was able to walk, let alone make the 10-mile hike to visit the clinic. In addition to assisting in treating the woman, Bakalor gave her a pair of her own socks.

"The woman was overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation," said Bakalor. "I couldn't believe how this small act could have such a large impact. I am forever indebted to Chamberlain for providing me with this life-altering opportunity."

Dr. Fletcher began organizing these trips more than a decade ago because she wanted to be involved in projects in which she could utilize her nursing skills to expand the boundaries of her classroom and broaden students education and clinical experiences.

"These medical mission trips are a life-changing experience for my students," said Dr. Fletcher. "Through this immersion experience, the students gain a deeper understanding of cultural differences and treating patients in different environmental conditions. Because of the language barrier, the students learn to read body language and hone their observation skills, which make them better nurses when they return home."

Building on more than 120-years of history of excellence in nursing education, Chamberlain College of Nursing is committed to providing the educational foundation, extensive and diversified clinical opportunities that graduates need to become competent, innovative and empowered nursing professionals in today's rapidly evolving healthcare environment.  This fall, Chamberlain will offer a similar nursing service project to Brazil, in partnership with its sister college, DeVry Brasil, in Fortaleza.

For more information on these service projects, please visit

About Chamberlain College of Nursing

Chamberlain College of Nursing offers bachelor's and master's degree programs in nursing. Campuses are currently located in Phoenix, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; Addison and Chicago, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; Columbus, Ohio; and Arlington, Virginia.

Chamberlain College of Nursing is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC),, one of the six regional agencies that accredit U.S. colleges and universities at the institutional level. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program at the Addison, Columbus, Jacksonville, Phoenix, and St. Louis campuses is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202-887-6791). The Bachelor of Science in nursing degree program at the St. Louis and Columbus campuses and the Associate Degree in nursing program at the Columbus campus are accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC, 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 500, Atlanta, Georgia 30326, 404-975-5000). The Arlington and Chicago campuses are pursuing programmatic accreditation for the Bachelor of Science in nursing degree program. Accreditation provides assurance to the public and to prospective students that standards of quality have been met. Program availability varies by location. AC0103

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