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  • USF Nursing Anesthesia students take part in medical-surgical mission trip to Guatemala

    Two students from the University of South Florida College of Nursing Anesthesia program participated in a life changing medical-surgical mission trip to Antigua, Guatemala in summer 2012. Those two students were Jodi DeVries, RN, BSN, CCRN, SRNA, and Hayley Suratt, RN, BSN.

    Two students from the University of South Florida College of Nursing Anesthesia program participated in a life changing medical-surgical mission trip to Antigua, Guatemala in summer 2012. Those two students were Jodi DeVries, RN, BSN, CCRN, SRNA, and Hayley Suratt.
    Hayley Suratt and Jodi Devries (L to R) helping patients at the Obras Sociales del Santos Hermano Pedro hospital in Guatemala during the medical-surgical mission trip 

    DeVries and Suratt are currently full time students in the USF Nurse Anesthesia program. DeVries and Suratt plan to graduate in December 2012.

    DeVries and Suratt traveled with Faith in Practice, a non-profit, ecumenical Christian organization that seeks to improve the physical, spiritual, and economic conditions of the poor in Guatemala through short-term surgical, medical, and dental mission trips and health-related educational programs. The students and the organization’s surgical team stationed at the Obras Sociales del Santos Hermano Pedro hospital where many patients were in desperate need of medical help.

     During the trip, their interprofessional surgical team performed an amazing 93 surgeries including knees, shoulders, gallbladders, hernias, and other general surgeries in just one week. The team used supplies including 31 trunks filled with supplies (medication, surgical equipment, and implants) donated by hospitals and medical supply companies to complete those surgeries.
    DeVries, Tom Warzinsky, a CRNA from Bayfront Medical Center, and Suratt (L to R) at the Obras Sociales del Santos Hermano Pedro hospital in Guatemala during the medical-surgical mission trip.Warzinsky is the person who introduced DeVries and Suratt to Faith In Practice.

    Their interprofessional surgical team performed an amazing 93 surgeries including knees, shoulders, gallbladders, hernias, and other general surgeries in just one week. The team used supplies including 31 trunks filled with supplies (medication, surgical equipment, and implants) donated by hospitals and medical supply companies to complete those surgeries. “Without the donated supplies, we would not have been able to accomplish the procedures scheduled and changed the lives we did,” DeVries said.

    “This was my very first mission trip, but I hope it not to be my last,” DeVries said. “We were inspired by the gentle humility of the people in Guatemala. Their heartfelt appreciation when we prayed for them and for the services we have offered, even when the outcome is not what any of us hoped. All that along with their cheerful disposition in the midst of pain, has caused us to pause and be thankful for the blessings God has given us. All our needs are met. We can see a doctor anytime we want, medication is easily obtained from the pharmacy around the corner, and when we need surgery, we generally receive it without waiting or wondering how to pay for it.”

    “That week in Guatemala was the highlight of my education so far,” Suratt said. “I fell blessed to have been given the warm, caring heart, selflessness, nursing skills, and knowledge to help others. It was such an awesome opportunity to travel with Faith In Practice and touch the lives of so many.”
     DeVries & Suratt (L to R) in Guatemala during their summer medical-surgical mission trip

    On the first day, the anesthesia team, including DeVries and Suratt, screened about 110 patients, and scheduled almost 100 surgeries.“We avidly worked to stabilize them, keep them comfortable, and then transfer them to a nursing unit for continued care,” Suratt said.  “Many of the patients would wake up crying with tears of joy, thanking God for sending us to help them.”

    The Nursing students did not get paid during this surgical-mission. They said they chose to give themselves, their time, and their talents to help those less fortunate than themselves.

    “That week in Guatemala was the highlight of our education so far,” Suratt said. “We feel blessed to have been given the warm, caring heart, selflessness, nursing skills, and knowledge to help others. It was such an awesome opportunity to travel with Faith In Practice and touch the lives of so many.

    Since 1991, Faith In Practice, has been committed to serving the poor in Guatemala. The organization sees more than 20,000 patients annually, according to Faith in Practice’s website. Every year, over 1,000 medical professionals and support personnel from across the United States and world travel to Guatemala, to serve the poor of Guatemala through Faith In Practice.

    “God’s will has no limits!” Suratt said. ”Who would have thought that a medical mission trip in the middle of nurse anesthesia school would be fiscally, emotionally, and physically possible? This experience enriched my perspective of how healthcare is delievered without adequate resources. Sometimes the simple things are just enough.”

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