This past March, students from the TTUHSC traveled to Jinotega, Nicaragua and provided health care to those in need. One of our very own nursing students, Caroline Cole, had the opportunity to join the crew and represent the school of nursing.
“Before going on this mission trip, I was told over and over by others, “this will be a life-changing experience,” “you won’t want to come back,” “this experience will be like no other.” I believed all I was told, but I don’t think I truly grasped before leaving how much of an impact this experience would really make on my life,” Caroline said.
The crew stayed for one week in Jinotega and for five days, held make-shift clinics for the Jinotegans. Caroline said the condition in Jinotega was eye-opening. The people there didn’t have access to clean water and the TTUHSC crew were able to provide clean water to them while they were there.
“Just being there, giving them attention and the affection that we cared and were there to help, meant the world to them,” Caroline said. “They were the nicest and most welcoming people I have ever met.”
On some days, the clinics would last for hours and at the end of the day, Caroline felt very tired but also like she had really accomplished a lot with very little resources.
One of the most memorable moments Caroline experienced while on the trip was when she had to pull teeth, which she described as “absolutely terrifying,” but glad she had the opportunity to learn something new.
“Pulling teeth was one one of those things that I was happy to mark off of my bucket list,” Caroline said.
As advised, she claimed her life has changed since returning.
“It was so inspiring to see that despite all the challenges that the Jinotegan people experience… extreme poverty, illness, sorrow; they still persevere, and still are so strong in their faith and belief that a higher power is looking out for them and has this awesome plan for their lives,” Caroline said. “I saw this in everyone I came in contact with from the children to the adults. It truly inspired me.”
The experience from the medical mission heavily influenced how Caroline practices as a nurse. She said it just confirmed the value of her self as a health care professional.
“I developed reassurance in what I’ve been called to do through my nursing career and I am encouraged to live a life full of giving and recognizing the needs of others,” Caroline said.
Caroline will graduate in May from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing, and hopes to have the opportunity for other international medical missions through her nursing career. She plans to use those experiences, coupled with her nursing skills, to touch as many lives as humanly possible.
“Having the opportunity to represent the TTUHSC School of Nursing on my trip was very humbling. I experienced so much growth personally and as a nursing student.”