Being part of a Jesuit university, it is no doubt that we will ponder on the Jesuit characteristics of our mission trip. As perspective and excited future nurses, we understand how incredible this is for us and how much experience we will gain. We will encompass all the ideas laid behind being a community health nurse. Engaging and interacting with the residents is fundamental. We will train our minds to understand from what perspective/background each of our patients are coming from. Our mission trip medically does not mean that we will only hand in medications and move on. Instead, we will go down into the villages and provide education to assure the inhabitants’ highest capabilities to sustain themselves relative to their medical conditions. We also hope to teach means to prevent some diseases, and also better ways to take care of themselves. Being a community-nursing student volunteering down in Haiti means to understand the country’s culture to really provide not only the best care, but also the best health education they could get.
Why do we go into the impoverished areas and provide care? Why does it matter? What is another ethical, philosophical and theological theory, or perspective behind this mission trip? Last Tuesday, October, 1rst, Father Don MacMillan of the Campus Ministry, was thus invited to our meeting to provide an avenue by which we would take and answer these questions.
Understanding the spiritual take of nursing as a profession is indeed the first step. Nursing encompasses the idea to “holistically” care for an individual. Thus, our services are not limited to the human physiology. Instead, it gravitates to what constitutes an “entirely” healthy human being. In other words, it means to care for a person’s mental, physical, and psychosocial (which embodies spirituality, social life etc.) We thus have to connect on deeper levels with each and everyone we take care of. Nurses understand that all of these realms within a person’s life balance the other of. We connect with them. We see us, in the other. We humble ourselves to even do the hardest interventions.
In retrospect, in going down to an impoverish country to connect with people and provide our humblest services, we follow Jesus’ example to care for the poor, weaker, and the ill. We reach out to people in this planet, who are appreciative of the fact that we think of them. As Fr. Don pointed out, here in the United States, we are fighting for a “better” health insurance and even experienced a government shut down for it. It helps, he pointed out, to think that these Haitians that we will attend do not have the slightest access to basic care, needless to think that they would even have health insurance. But because we go to them, they feel “noticed” in Fr. Don’s words. Simple gestures we constantly take for granted mean the world to them. They appreciate every smile, and hug that we will give them. Seeing beyond the obvious is essential, he further explained. Looking beyond their poverty and to reach out to each of their hearts will create that bond, which has always been existent within each one of us and thus has characterized all of humanity. Fr. Don encourages us to “fall in love with the people”. They have so much to teach us, as much as we do. We have to ready our ears, minds, and hearts to listen to them.
Within the realms of such a transcendent experience, Fr. Don encouraged us to prepare by connecting with ourselves on a deeper level. He incited that we look inside each one of us during this experience to discover our innately given talents. As a group, he encouraged us to rely on each other as we are each unique and thus will provide service each in our very own distinctive ways. He also encouraged us “to fall in love with each other” as the group is really what the people will rely on to help and be with them.
“We are special and each have a talent. Be a group in solidarity to go and help these people”, Fr. Don concluded.