College of Nursing


Tonga 2013


Student nurse with children in Tonga


Tongatapu, Eua, and Vava’u                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Time Frame
 3 - 3 1/2 weeks leaving mid May
Clinical Experiences
Training in the “womb to tomb” approach to nursing. Community education, immunizations, dressing changes, observing surgery, performing assessments, providing support. Mental health, medical, pediatric, labor and delivery, postpartum, and surgical units. Antenatal, medical, ambulatory, diabetes, and dental clinics. 
Other Experiences
Clinics held in marketplace including blood pressure and glucose screenings. Performing health assessments of school children. Presenting fireside. Doing at-home screenings and immunizations to remote boat-only access locations. 
Outside Trips/Weekend Culture Experiences
Temple visits, occasional swim at the beach, many cultural and beautiful nature sites, Church activities, trying new foods, and occasional health fairs.
Estimated cost: $3,700 (including tuition - cost may vary with airline costs)


Island Day and Clinical is the most-remembered day among all the students as we combine health screenings, immunizations, and health assessments at four little islands with a little beach time with our Tongan nurse friends.


"When I reflect on the cultural experiences I have had in Tonga, activities range from participating in a kava ceremony to visiting homes through community nursing.  However, when I ponder the most meaningful experience simple bus rides comes to mind.  Through waiting for and riding the bus I have learned about everyday life in Tonga including time frames, Tongan attitudes, and interactions with Tongans about their lives and overall culture.

During my first bus ride in Tonga, I was shocked to see the seats worn down with the cushions falling apart, people sitting and standing crammed together, and even the bus floor to have wooden planks attempting to cover the holes in the floor of the bus. It was my first time realizing the extent of how poor most of the people are in Tonga.  There was a wide range of passengers on the bus including school children to mothers with their babies and older people in Tonga. As I talked to and came to love the Tongans, I realized their financial status did not change the fact they were a mother, a father, a friend; they are all real people. It is important as a health provider to look beyond the financial status of patients and I am glad to have learned this in Tonga."

 Nurses with mother and child in Tonga