Nursing student group

Nursing Students Traveled to Zambia

Nursing Students Traveled to Zambia

January 19, 2023 by Office of Marketing and Communication Study Abroad
Nursing Students Traveled to Zambia

MILWAUKEE, WI - Wisconsin Lutheran College nursing students can travel to Zambia during their junior year to study the implementation of health care programs across the globe. While there, they observe medical practices and procedures in local clinics and hospitals, learn about diverse cultures, and conduct health education programs.

This year’s group of 15 nursing students, along with three chaperones, departed from WLC on January 5. Below are updates and photos from this year's trip.

2023 Zambia Trip

January 10

Nursing students Olivia, Chloe, Dylan, and Miriam provided the first trip update…

Greetings from Zambia! After two long days of travel, we arrived safely in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, on Saturday afternoon. Monday was our first day of clinical. The students were split into three groups, each attending a different clinical site in Lusaka. The three sites are the Special Hope Network (a program for children with special needs), the Chelston Zonal Hospital which is a government funded facility, and Beit Cure which is a privately funded children’s hospital. Each group of students is rotating to a new site each day during the first week.

It has been interesting to see the differences in health care between Zambia and the US. Some of the areas have a lack of resources, but they do the best they can with the resources they have. We heard that there is currently a lack of working x-ray machines in Lusaka.

The students at Beit Cure today had a great learning experience. The hospital provides care and surgeries free of charge to children who come to the hospital for orthopedic surgeries and ear, nose, and throat surgeries. The hospital is uniquely laid out, with separate buildings connected by sidewalks – something different from US hospitals. Students were able to go into the operating theater to watch an orthopedic surgery and they were able to shadow nurses in the children’s ward.

The entire hospital staff felt like one family with one very specific mission – help all children in need. Students watched a staff member provide pre-operative teaching to the children using a dollhouse that was a replica of the operating theater. The staff member explained that the children had nothing to be afraid of in this room because this where the surgeons would repair them and God would help heal them. She then led all the children in prayer. Students saw commitment to spiritual health in other areas of the hospital as well. Upon arrival to the children’s ward, the students observed a prayer for healing of the children.

Overall Beit Cure was an amazing experience. The students enjoyed playing with the children who were awaiting surgeries. It was heartwarming to see the joy and smiles in the children. Their contentedness has changed the students’ view of how blessed they are back home. It is beautiful to see God and His presence thousands of miles away from WLC.

January 11

Nursing students Sarah, Ella, and Ellie shared these thoughts about the trip…

Hello again from Zambia! We have just finished our fifth day in Zambia, and it has been a very new experience for us all. At this point, all of the groups have been able to visit three clinical sites: Beit Cure, Special Hope Network, and Chelston. Special Hope is a nonprofit organization that provides services to children with special needs. They are given the chance to interact with other children and adults while they learn and grow developmentally. Mothers and fathers are given the chance to bring their child to the center three days a week and take part in their growth and learning. Each session began with a devotion and song. The devotion was followed by education for the mothers. The children were then split up to work on individualized tasks fit for their personal development. Parents were encouraged to bring the learning and skills home with them to continue to practice.

Overall we got the chance to compare and contrast the three clinical sites each being special in their own way. Each site had their own focus or specialties. The experience has been very eye opening compared to previous experiences in the US. We look forward to more experiences to come as we travel to Mwembezhi and two grade schools in the coming days.

January 15

Greetings from Zambia as our second weekend draws to a close. We have been busy! Last week's clinical experiences provided unforgettable learning opportunities, including our trip to the rural clinic at Mwembezhi on Thursday. Students provided health teaching to the local people and gave out hundreds of toothbrushes to promote good oral health. The students also had a chance to play with the children, which is always a highlight for everyone. On Friday we got on a bus for a very long ride to Livingstone, where we stayed at the beautiful Waterfront Lodge. It was a weekend for rest and relaxation, but we packed in lots of fun things, which made the weekend go by quickly. A game drive on Saturday morning, Victoria Falls in the afternoon, and shopping at the local market before dinner made for a full day. Before leaving for Lusaka, we spent some time with some friendly elephants - another awesome experience. We have two days of clinical left, which will include time at two grade schools providing vision screening and health teaching. We will be home soon with lots of stories to share!

Nursing student Jackson shared these thoughts about the trip...

Staying in Zambia has been a truly eye-opening experience for me. As someone who has never traveled outside of the United States it has taken some time to adjust both physically and mentally, but as we spend more time here, I feel like we become more acclimated to the culture. This trip is truly a once in a lifetime experience that I am glad to be able to share with my classmates. We have spent so much time together on the long flights and bus rides but in doing so we have been able to become much closer as peers. There are times when I miss my family and want to return, but for now I want to make the most of my time here. One this is for certain; I am going to have some awesome pictures to show my friends.

Nursing student Lydia O. reflected on the weekend in Livingstone...

The Lodge has been such a great time! The food is great but combined with the beautiful scenery, it's making for an unforgettable trip. Yesterday we were able to view Victoria Falls from afar, seeing the steam rise into the air, but today we actually saw it. Those of us that have seen Niagara Falls agree it doesn't compare. It stretches on further than you can see and it's surrounded by heavy forest that is rich in color. It started to rain shortly after we arrived and we all got soaked! If anything, that made the experience all the more enjoyable, especially since we all brought raincoats, and half of us left them behind.

Some of us traveled down to the Boiling Pot where we were level with the base of the falls. The path was slippery and uneven, so going down was difficult. The end result was without a doubt worth it. The sentiment stays the same, even though going up again was so much worse than going down. To everyone that made it look easy, my ego is still bruised.

Overall, though, it was a wonderful and unforgettable experience not just because of what we saw, but the people we saw it with.

January 17

A final update from Dr. Sheryl Scott, associate professor of nursing and chair of WLC's School of Nursing...

Tonight is our final night in Zambia. We have traveled half way around the world to find people who laugh and cry and experience joy and pain just like we do. Their needs are not different than ours either - food, clothing, shelter, and love. While many people may not have much in terms of physical resources, they do have a great faith in God and love for their Savior. Dr. Stephanie Armstrong led our devotion this evening, which was a reflection on 1 Corinthians 13 - the love chapter in the Bible. She encouraged us to think about love differently now that we have experienced and seen love among the people here in Zambia.

Our two days of clinical this week were spent at two elementary schools providing vision screening and health teaching for over 300 children. The nursing students shared tips on fire safety and oral and hand hygiene. The children were very welcoming and polite and were very excited to play with the nursing students at recess. We were greeted with open arms, bright smiles, contagious laughter, and so much energy!

Our group has had many experiences over the past two weeks. There will be stories to share and pictures to see, but there will be parts of the trip that words and pictures won't be able to fully describe. As the leader of this trip, I hope and pray that the lessons learned and the memories that have been made will be a great blessing to the students in their future nursing careers.

Farewell Zambia!