Robert Morris University nursing students to return to Nicaragua
By Tory N. Parrish
Published: Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, 8:54 p.m.
Robert Morris University nursing student Laryn Smith first traveled to Nicaragua with faculty and peers to improve the lives of people in poor communities.
Hers was the life that changed.
“They don't want you to leave. ... The cost of the trip really doesn't mean anything after you get this kind of reaction from them,” said Smith, 23, a senior from St. Marys, Elk County.
So Smith will travel to the Central American country again next month. She will be among 26 nursing students, mostly seniors, who pay $2,500 in travel and related costs to accompany RMU nursing professor Carl Ross on his 80th trip there.
Ross leads three to four student trips a year to Nicaragua, where his students earn clinical credit for their community health nursing course, he said.
“One of the ultimate goals is just to introduce my students to less fortunate populations and to see the students come back changed forever,” he said.
RMU partners with Universidad Politecnica de Nicaragua, said Ross, who also is coordinator of international activities at RMU's nursing school.
With 5.7 million citizens, Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America, according to the CIA's World Factbook.
“They're very poor — dirt roads, homes made out of thin plywood and plastic, tin roofs, dirt floors in many of the homes, minimal electricity and water. ... It's not uncommon to have five or eight people living in a very small house,” said Ross, 55, of Cranberry.
During the RMU group's trip from Nov. 8-20, the travelers will work alongside a group of UPOLI nursing students and faculty at a coffee farm in Jinotega. There they will teach about 250 farm workers about managing or preventing back pain, dehydration, hypertension, diabetes, respiratory conditions and parasitic bites, he said.
In the second week, the group will see about 200 people in the capital city of Managua.
In the mornings, students in groups of two to three will work in homes identifying environmental, developmental and physical health issues, Ross said. In the afternoons, they will work in a men's clinic Ross helped establish in 2000.
As a licensed nurse practitioner, Ross can prescribe medication, but because of the extreme poverty of the people receiving attention, the medical group focuses on teaching natural health remedies and preventive techniques that cost little or nothing.
Ross first traveled to Nicaragua in 1995 when he was a nursing professor at Duquesne University. He volunteered to chair sister-school relations, which led to him doing doctoral work in Nicaragua. He opened clinics and worked with the minister of health.
RMU hired Ross in 2005, and in 2006 RMU's and UPOLI's nursing schools agreed to develop joint research and academic and cultural activities.
The RMU International Fund pays for medical supplies for the trip. Ross typically needs about $1,500 worth of supplies, he said.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alle-Kiski Valley economic development group honored for police training
- PennDOT wants Rock Airport in West Deer to remain open
- Penguins’ Bylsma wants Cup version of Letang
- Renter tries to battle New Kensington house fire
- Orpik: Penguins must keep their cool
- Scottdale to reconsider use of complaint forms
- Dawson mayor, CSX aim to repair railroad crossing at intersection
- Mulch pitched for Vanderbilt park’s playground; surface proposed under swings, slide, climbing bars
- South Connellsville accepts police chief’s resignation
- Pirates trade for Mets first baseman Davis
- Steel Valley volleyball rekindling program’s glory days