MVNU Nursing Students Serve the People of Haiti over Spring Break
March 9, 2013
MOUNT VERNON, OH - Over spring break, MVNU nursing students and faculty went to Haiti to serve the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of the people through Heart to Heart International.
Within hours of the January 12th, 2010, 7.0-magnitude quake in Haiti, Heart to Heart International was on the ground providing direct medical care to disaster victims. Mount Vernon Nazarene University students, faculty, and staff prayed for and gave resources to assist in this initial phase of disaster relief.
In the days to come, Heart to Heart determined their efforts would be for naught if they did not commit long-term to the Haitian people and bring to life their mission to improve global health. Because of this, Mount Vernon Nazarene University, through its M2540 Initiative, sought to develop a partnership with Heart to Heart in Haiti.
The M2540 Initiative is framed within the words of Christ that, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers you did it to me." As a university we are committed to connect our campus community with select global partners focusing on needs in the areas of education, technology, microenterprise, and compassionate responses to poverty and suffering in our world. Through these partnerships, MVNU students, faculty and staff engage in living out the vision of our university: to change the world with the love of Christ.
Now, closing in on three years after the quake, Heart to Heart is integral to the process of broadening access to healthcare in several Haitian communities, both urban and rural. Mount Vernon Nazarene University's partnership with Heart to Heart allows nursing students and faculty to work with Haitian doctors and nurses, lab technicians, and community leaders in community clinics to provide needed care to some of the most vulnerable in the country.
Heart to Heart International's story in Haiti is about more than an earthquake. Heart to Hearts' story in Haiti is about access to healthcare and building healthy communities. This spring break a group of nursing students and their instructor served in Haiti in Heart to Heart clinics in Bel Air, Leogane and Fondwa. It was while in Fondwa that the group had a chance to see the relevance of health care provided by Heart to Heart in the mountain village of Fondwa.
On a clinic day in Fondwa, a mother brought her baby to the clinic with fever of 104.5. The baby was diagnosed with severe pneumonia. The doctor and the nursing students were concerned about the baby's fever, because of a risk of seizures, so 2 students worked for 2.5 hours to bring down the fever. With no electricity or running water, the students repeatedly sponged the baby using water from their own water bottles and monitored the baby's vital signs. Others prayed and waited.
What a joyous sight to see the mother and child leaving the clinic with the fever broken.
Megan Webster, one of the students who participated in the trip, said that, "As the week went on it did not take long for me to learn that our group was being changed by the people of Haiti. This mission trip opened my eyes to different cultures and has made an impact on my life. I am truly blessed to be able to experience and practice my skills in the ministry of nursing through Mount Vernon Nazarene University."
In short, in the words of Professor Adu, "The students were able to provide a level of caring that transcends culture and language to also meet the psychological and spiritual needs of the patients. The seemingly simple act of giving encouragement through a reassuring smile…, providing empathy through holding the hand of a scared child, and presenting the hope Jesus can bring to a patient in despair all served to meet the deeper need of the Haitians - the need for someone to care about them and show them that Jesus cares for them too."
Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students and working adults. With a 400-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several convenient Graduate and Professional Studies locations throughout the state, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,500 students from 32 states and six countries/U.S. territories.