Katherina Xu ’18 and Haley Anderson ’18 were among 11 undergraduates who participated in a Global Nursing and Healthcare course in Uganda in the summer of 2017. The course afforded students and faculty mentors a rare opportunity to explore and observe healthcare services in a limited resource environment.
Through Dominican’s Global Education Office, the students worked in collaboration with the community hospital, nursing school, and village liaisons. They assisted village outreach teams in health promotion initiatives and family and community assessments.
For Katherina, the course also served as a study-abroad experience she missed out on while earning her BS degree in kinesiology from San Diego State in 2013.
A graduate of Petaluma’s Casa Grande High School, Katherina came to Dominican because of its proximity to her hometown and the reputation of its nursing program.
“I’ve always loved health care and helping people,” Katherina says. “I realized that nursing was my true calling.”
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The students worked in Bwindi with the Batwa, an indigenous community, and other tribes who have migrated to the region. There they saw differences in the curriculum and roles of their Ugandan counterparts. They also gained cultural perspective.
“Although Bwindi is renowned as a World Heritage site, the Batwa and other tribes tread a delicate balance between health, survival, and basic needs,” says Dr. Olivia Catolico from Dominican’s Department of Nursing who taught the course along with Dr. Leandra Wallace.
The Dominican students participated in classes with the Ugandan nursing students and partnered with them during clinical rotations in inpatient and outpatient settings.
“Each group expressed awe for the other,” Dr. Catolico says.
A graduate of Lemoore High School, Haley followed the advice of her grandmother, Winnie Coleman ’57, to come to Dominican. Haley’s dream was to make a community service trip to a foreign country. She was taken by the Ugandan children who walked with the Dominican students to and from the hospital.
“If the opportunity arises again, I will be the first one to sign up,” she says.