Posted on Jul 8, 2014

USF Nursing students complete global health experience in Panama

USF Nursing students complete global health experience in Panama

USF Nursing students traveled to Chitre, Panama for a two-week global health community experience for summer 2014 semester. The trip is part of a global experience that fulfills a six-credit requirement for community health didactic and clinical courses and was developed through the College’s initiative, POWER with NursingPartnership Opportunities for Wellness, Education and Research. 

Connie Visovsky, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, associate professor and associate dean for student affairs and community engagement for USF Nursing, traveled to Panama with the undergraduate students. USF Nursing adjunct faculty members, Jessica Gordon, MS, ARNP, CPNP-PC, and June Graney, RN MS, assisted Dr. Visovsky in this trip as well.

University of Panama-Azuero Regional Campus Director, Dr. Leonardo Collado, and School of Nursing Professor and International Affairs Council Chair, Linnette Palacios-Castill, welcomed the students to the area and arranged a multitude of opportunities for them.

During this trip, students built global citizenship and experienced the culture of Panama. They worked hand-in-hand with students from University of Panama to conduct community health work in several local clinics for adults and children of all ages.

“I have loved every moment of my clinical experience in Panama,” said nursing student, Renee Edmundson. “The most memorable experience for me was the day we provided vaccines to 6th grade students at Escuela Hipolito Perez Tello School in Chitre. Students were brave and were excellent patients.”

USF Nursing student giving vaccines

A child cries as he gets his vaccine from USF Nursing students

Students also developed and presented community-based health projects that would benefit the local population. These projects included Dengue Fever and  sexually transmitted diseases prevention and maternal-child health promotion.

“We also had the chance to provide health services to patients at the Centro de Salud en Monagrillo free clinic,” another student said. “We worked together with University of Panama students to provide immunizations for children and adult patients, perform screening exams and address other healthcare needs.”

Students also toured the local area and attended the San Juan Bautista Festival, which celebrates the life of St. John the Baptist, a local patron saint. They also visited artisan shops in the city where they purchased unique handmade goods. This ancient practice is valued by the local community, but also poses health threats to the workers bringing mosquito-borne illnesses such as Dengue Fever.

“I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the artisan shops,” said nursing student Johnathon “Tyler” Guess. “We were lucky enough to have a few locals demonstrate their work, and explain the process of making the hand-crafted artworks they offered for sale out of their own homes.”

USF College of Nursing has been partnering with University of Panama for more than eight years on clinical practice placements for undergraduate students in the global community health experience. This experience has allowed students to travel to Panama every summer for first-hand experiences with global health issues through ongoing community health work in several community-based primary care clinics.

USF Nursing nursing students and University of Panama students at

USF Nursing students and University of Panama students at Centro de Salud de Chitre

“USF College of Nursing is grateful for this long partnership with University of Panama,” Dr. Visovsky said. “The support and sustainability of this global partnership provides opportunities for students to develop global health care skills that enhance their ability to care for diverse patients stateside.”

To read more from students experience in Panama visit their blog:

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