Violet Uttaro checks the blood glucose level of a man in a Chulucanas community center.
Senior Tara Martin listens to the breath sounds of an elderly woman in Peru during a home visit.
Students provide health promotion information in Spanish to members of the Chulucanas community.
For the 11th consecutive year, Villanova Nursing students and faculty have promoted health in Chulucanas, Peru as part of the senior level health promotion clinical practicum option in March. Led by faculty Elise Pizzi, MSN, CRNP, assistant professor and Karen McKenna, MSN, RN, clinical assistant professor, the group of eight students and two translators toured a hospital and made home visits in Chulucanas.
The nursing students, partially supported as Connelly-Delouvrier International Scholars, researched, developed and translated into Spanish multiple educational programs for local residents and lay health promoters in three parishes in the Diocese of Chulucanas. They addressed such topics as type 2 diabetes management; sexual development; and women’s health issues including fitness, osteoporosis, nutrition, self breast exams, thyroid disease and high blood pressure. At their teaching sessions, the students used glucometers to test more than 150 people for high blood glucose levels since diabetes is so prevalent in the community. They later donated 12 glucometers to the parishes and Diocesan center, along with funds they had raised which went towards the care of a brother and sister with diabetes and a woman with ovarian cancer who could not afford pain medication.
Additionally, the students educated the community on environmental issues. They focused on food safety, clean water, waste disposal, plastics, the hazards of burning plastics, the negative effects of smoke from poorly vented stoves and pest control. They even created fly traps using discarded plastic bottles. “The students were shocked that the residents and health promoters took notes and asked questions” during education sessions, says Prof. Pizzi. Prof. McKenna concurs, “It’s very affirming. The education is important.”
A group of nursing students and faculty will return to Peru next March to continue the health promotion progress made by the 2010 nurses.