“Face to face interaction with not just patients and doctors but everyone else involved in patient care. I really enjoyed building relationships with the translators, guides, and more.”
The Global Medical Training group, comprised of 14 Williams students, traveled to Nicaragua to set up clinics in impoverished or rural areas. They worked in groups of three students and a translator taking patient medical histories, recording their symptoms and measuring basic vital signs. They, with help from a medical doctor, were able to help determine a diagnosis and prescribe medication for the patient. Participants averaged helping about 100 patients in one clinic day. This year, students were also able to shadow nurses as they administered pap smears. Each student was also able to accompany doctors on home-visits with patients who were unable to travel to the clinic. This Break Out Trip allowed students to obtain hands-on experience with working in the medical field and serving less fortunate individuals. It helped fostered interest community service, increased cultural awareness, and introduced them to the situation of underdeveloped countries.
- “I think that practical work like this provides a kind of firsthand experience that is impossible to gain from classroom-learning (such as public health classes), although I think that the combination of academic learning and practical experience gives each part the most value. I felt that the work we did was genuinely helpful and had a positive impact on the people and communities we served.”
- “I learned a lot about what patient care really is about. I also learned more about how to come to a diagnosis based on signs and symptoms and how to treat these diagnoses. I learned much about the culture and history of Nicaragua as well.”
- “I think that some skills, such as interacting with patients and learning to adapt, is learned through practicing instead of being lectured. I think that the experience I gained during this trip greatly helped me in these areas.”