Nursing Dept Continues Tradition of Mission Trip
Every spring break for 18 years Southwestern’s nursing department has gone to the Dominican Republic for their mission trip. Several nursing students are returning this year, along with their instructors.
Lolita Valdez, assistant director of the nursing program and the coordinator of the trip, explains their decision to focus on going to the Dominican Republic exclusively.
“Firstly, I wanted to follow-up on the outcomes of what has been done from the previous years,” she says. “Secondly, I have Pastor Tony Torres, a field coordinator who knows the culture of the people and who works hand in hand with the nursing department to prepare the students for the mission work in the area and for the safety of the group. Safety of the missionaries is my priority. Thirdly, I feel safer to take students to an area I am familiar with in terms of safety and needs of the people we serve.”
As missionaries, the nursing majors who are involved in this trip do a variety of mission work to help the local people. They conduct Vacation Bible Schools for the kids, five mobile medical clinics, and evangelistic meetings. The evangelistic meetings, however, depend on the availability of funds.
This opportunity to reach out to people across the gulf in mission work blesses both the nursing students and those who are receiving the help. Nursing students who study Community Health Nursing earn half of the total clinical hours required in the class while helping the natives of Dominican Republic. In addition, students begin to appreciate the things they have and receive a life-changing experience.
“During this mission trip, the student will see people’s needs that are very different from their own and the community they served,” Lolita says. “I have witnessed a lot of what is in their heart that would not have been shown in the classroom setting. It is their opportunity to serve others out of love outside their comfort zone.”