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India 2012 

India is an ancient culture rich in tradition and currently has a population of over one billion people. Nursing students partnered with a non-government organization that provides medical services in local colonies inhabited by leprosy afflicted people and supports a boarding school for children who parents have leprosy.  BYU nursing students assisted local medical personal in dressing wounds, screening school children and teaching basic health related topics. Other activities include visiting ancient Hindu temples, attending the local LDS branch and touring medical facilities.


Student Reflections:

"We had the chance to go to a hospital for leprosy patients while visiting a leprosy colony. We went inside a long, dark room with about eight to ten beds lined up on each side. We said, “Vanakkam” to the patients and sang songs with them. They loved it and clapped along to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” It brought a whole new feeling into that dark room. We sang “Love is Spoken Here,” and it felt like angels were singing alongside us. As we left, I went to one of the patients sitting on a bed by the door. He had no fingers from the leprosy that had affected them, and I could tell he was almost blind from cataracts in his eyes. I put my hand on his arm and said, “Nandri.” He took his palm and set it on my hand, then took my hands in his palms and caressed my hands and my fingers and smiled so big. My heart was so full. I could see how much it meant to him to have someone reach out and touch him, who had been told he was an ‘untouchable’ all his life. He was not the only one touched by the experience; I hope he felt how much it meant to me for him to hold my hand in return."     -- Krystal

"My first assignment was to be at the foot-washing station. This man crawled over to me and put what was left of his leg in the washing basin. He had no foot, and his leg was amputated just above his ankle. It made me nervous, but I did not want to show it and gingerly started washing his leg. Then my professor’s voice rang in my head, “These are people, just like you and me. Look them in the eye and show them you care.” I tilted my head up and looked this sweet man in his deep brown eyes and his smiling face. My gaze started going deeper than his eyes and searched his soul. What I found brought a tear to my eye. This man was a child of God and I could physically feel his goodness. I could feel what he had endured in his life and the amazing person it had molded him into. In that moment, we connected as two human beings. My attitude about being his nurse completely changed. I felt truly honored to be washing his feet."     -- Laura


"One thing that stood out to me at the birthing center was that few women had a family member or someone to help them during the labor experience. I learned that stoic behavior is a cultural expectation during labor and crying during labor was viewed as shameful. On numerous occasions I saw nurses and nursing assistants reprimand women who conveyed verbal expressions of pain… I had the opportunity to provide support to several women in labor, by holding their hand and assisting with positioning. During one of these experiences, I was assisting a young woman with pushing, and I observed that about every twenty minutes her mother would come into the delivery room to give the woman a drink of water and then she would quickly leave the room. I found myself judging this woman as being less caring and supportive and wondered why she did not stay with her daughter instead of going back and forth. Eventually one of the nurses explained to me that culturally it is considered bad luck for the mother to be in the room during the delivery and this woman was doing what she thought was most beneficial for her daughter and supporting her the best that she could. After understanding this cultural practice I realized I had made inaccurate assumptions based on my perception of support during labor. The “American” way of doing things that I was accustomed to is not necessarily the only way to do something or the most culturally appropriate. I learned that it is very important to use an educated cultural perspective when providing nursing care to prevent false judgments and misconceptions."     -- Elise

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