Missouri Western’s annual summer nursing trip to India featured historic numbers and was an overall huge success.
Every summer Dr. Raffensperger and Dr. Varghese take a journey to the other side of the world, and a number of nursing students tag along. The group set up shop in a town called “Puttur.” This past summer featured the largest group that has ever gone. 18 students went, with 16 of them being nursing majors, one pre-medical major and one PT assistant. The rising number of students was very encouraging, resulting in multiple nursing faculties to join the trip.
The purpose of the trip was to help those in need with a number of health clinics and to help teach several health techniques. Educating about cataracts was a main focus of the mission. Nursing students and faculty handed out hundreds of sunglasses as many people can and have gone blind. Another focal point of the mission was to teach CPR and hygiene skills.
On a separate part of the trip, the students met and interacted within the surrounding communities, which allowed them to learn and understand their culture. A key part of the trip that everyone enjoyed was when the students got to go to the local orphanage and meet kids with far less privileges that we all get to relish.
Dr. Raffensperger has gone to India on several occasions. She has overseen this opportunity for over 10 years and continues to absorb more and more. She expressed what this trip really means to her and her students.
“I think they get an awareness of a culture that they are not very familiar with,” Raffensperger said. “The biggest thing I think they get out of it is bonding with people from another place that are very different from them. They come to appreciate the differences.”
Dr. Varghese was moved by how the students interacted with the people from India and the amount of care they displayed.
“We had a lot students there, and they were able to mingle among the Indian students,” Varghese said. “Seeing the whole population, sitting close to the providers and seeing how they care for the patients is a touching experience. Apart from our educational sight, they had an orphanage right next door, and the students had a great time there.”
Nursing student Lauren Coon went on the trip for the first time. She was extremely enthusiastic to get hands-on experience and begin helping people in need.
“The trip definitely changed my life and changed my perspective,” Coon said. “The things I took for granted, I now wake up with a different attitude every day because of that trip. I appreciate my family so much more after talking with the orphans.”
This trip was very educational and enjoyable for all involved and created memories that will last a life time.