Four College of the Rockies nursing students recently took part in a two-week exchange in Nyeri, Kenya. The trip was made possible by the College’s International department as part of the Maternal Access and Infant Survival for Health Services (MAISHA) project and facilitated by long-time College partner Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DeKUT).
The four students, Jordanna McGregor, Jacqueline Strauss, Sylvia Breton and Angela Hoover are enrolled in the College’s Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) and Practical Nursing programs. College of the Rockies’ Health, Human and Family Services instructor Jeff Quinn and Okanagan College’s Chair of the BSN program, Monique Powell, also participated in the exchange.
While in Kenya, the students were able to observe the instruction and practice of health services from a Kenyan perspective while also learning from the Canadian instructors who accompanied them.
“This was a life-changing experience that I will forever cherish,” says Hoover. “I was able to observe many differences in maternal health care between Canada and Kenya and witnessed many different cultural nursing practices.”
“This experience will never be taught in a class,” agrees Breton. “There wasn’t one day where I felt that I wasn’t learning something.”
The exchange proved to be educational on many levels. “It has transformed my outlook on life,” says Strauss. “It opened my eyes and heart to the endless possibilities and directions to take my future nursing practice. I was also able to enhance my personal sense of community.”
The learning wasn’t limited to that of the students, however. Quinn and Powell led several classes over the duration of their stay and found the experience valuable for their own professional development.
“It was a great opportunity to teach, learn and participate in nursing within a different cultural climate. We will be able to use what we experienced in Kenya in our personal teaching and nursing practices in the future,” adds Quinn.
It was not all work for the students and instructors. A mid-trip excursion to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy provided an opportunity for them to experience Kenya’s diverse wildlife close-up, while providing a much-needed break before resuming a second busy week at the MAISHA health facilities.
College of the Rockies’ Manager, International Projects and Partnerships, Moritz Schmidt is pleased his department was able to provide this opportunity to the students and staff and is thankful for the reception they received.
“DeKUT and MAISHA coordinator Winnie Koima worked tirelessly to accommodate us and deserves our utmost appreciation for being so welcoming,” he says.
Learn more about the College’s MAISHA project.