This Is Auburn

ecuadorProviding Care Around the World

In the Auburn University School of Nursing, spring break is anything but typical.

Since 2005, it’s been a time for students to practice skills learned in the classroom, help a community that lacks adequate healthcare, and develop a passion for service to others.

Associate Professor Kathy Jo Ellison believes the opportunity to take students to Quito, Ecuador, is a way to meet the university’s mission of outreach and service to the world.

“This gives students the chance to see they have talent that can be used to serve people who are in need and they have a chance to give back to this world,” she said. “There’s nothing I do in life that brings all aspects of who I am together as much as this trip.”

For a student like Jordan Cox, the experience solidified her plans to be a nurse in remote locations where resources are limited. Caroline Dulaney had been to Ecuador before and worked with Servants in Faith and Technology, or SIFAT, before, but this trip was transformational for every student.

“You come to help but really they’re the ones that end up blessing you,” said Dulaney. “It’s definitely one of those experiences that once you go home, you want to come back. You want to keep serving and you want to keep helping.”

Without technology at her fingertips, Cox said she was challenged to take what she learned in class at Auburn and rely solely on her assessment skills to make a diagnosis.

“This goes far beyond anything they can just teach us in a classroom setting,” she said.

The students from Auburn’s Harrison School of Pharmacy faced learning to treat patients without access to medications.

Pharmacy student John Cox said the pharmacists played a critical role at the clinic with the nursing students. They had to determine what available medication could be used for a diagnosis, and then counsel the patient, a critical skill stressed in the Harrison School of Pharmacy.

“It’s not just a trip where you come and help them for the time that you’re there. It’s a lasting impression,” said nursing student Ashley Pigg. “It helps teach people how to provide for themselves, whether it’s cooking, building or just access to the necessities that they need for daily life.”