Twelve West Coast University students from California and Texas traveled more than 5,000 miles to Madrid, Spain for the most recent Global Public Health Program in March 2016.
In Madrid, the WCU Global Public Health program students were welcomed and introduced to nursing students from the Comillas Pontifical University, School of Nursing and Physiotherapy. During their initial interactions, the students discussed the Spainish health care system and the Healthy People 2020 initiative focusing on heart disease and stroke. Students from both institutions spent the day discussing the U.S. Ebola safety protocol and cutting-edge Joint Simulation Education.
“Comillas and West Coast students may come from different lands and have different cultural backgrounds, but it was very surprising and reassuring to see that they are so similar, thanks to that common bond of nursing,” WCU Ontario student Yasna Celek said.
During the global public health trip, WCU students also visited the largest mental health facility in Europe, the San Juan de Dios (SJDD) Mental Health Institution. WCU students shadowed and assisted staff with care and on-going rehabilitation of its residents. The SJDD operates as a small community offering its residents, employment opportunities, daily activities and various rehabilitation programs to support their highest level of functioning.
“I take many beautiful things with me from this trip but one of the most important ones to me was the empathy, care, love, and inspiration I felt at this center,” WCU-Orange County student Melissa Baltazar said. “By being granted the opportunity to be a part of the Global Public Health program I believe I have been exposed to so many new opportunities and ideas.”
In their final week, WCU students spent time at local community Health Care Centers (HCC), working with nursing staff, consulting with patients, and supporting patient appointments. They also had the opportunity to make home health visits for hospice patients, and visit a local elementary school to teach children about healthy eating. By participating in all these activities, our students were able to observe the longstanding and deeply rooted relationships between the nurses, patients and the communities in Spain.