Tag Archives: nursing

UNC Chapel Hill Nursing Student to Volunteer in Oaxaca

For the fourth summer, I have helped place a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student from the School of Nursing who will volunteer in the Teotitlan del Valle public health clinic.  Kathy Ray, a second degree BSN student, will spend almost three weeks in this indigenous Zapotec village, working alongside the clinic physician and nurses, practicing her Spanish, doing patient in-take, and accompanying the health care providers as they visit homes to be sure that inoculations are up-to-date.  Kathy, a 39-year-old mother of teenagers, won an undergraduate award to help fund her global health experience.

Amy Davenport volunteered with the UNC Student Health Action Coalition before she went to Mexico

Kathy will be following in the footsteps of Leilani Trowell, Lindsay Bach and Amy Davenport who all lived with a local host family during their stay in the village.  The family and clinic staff loved having them and our students learned a lot about the culture and delivery of rural health care in Mexico.

2009 nursing student Lindsay Bach takes patient's blood pressure

Many of you know that my full-time position is with the School of Nursing.  As director of advancement, I help the school raise needed funds for scholarships, professorships and critical programs that help educate future nurses — a crucial societal need.

One of the pleasures I have had over the years is my role in starting this student exchange and learning program in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca.  It is one more way to promote intercultural exchange, global understanding and appreciation for the culture of our important neighbor to the south.

And, our university would not be permitting our students to take part in this program if there was any question about risk to personal safety!



Learning Documentary Filmmaking in Oaxaca & Bringing It Home

During the week we learned how to make documentary films based in the village of Teotitlan del Valle, our instructors Erica Rothman and Mikel Barton kept reminding us that the experience was more about the learning process than in making a polished finished product.  We reminded ourselves of that over and over (our instructors did, too) as we were challenged by what came our way.  I learned how important it was to shift, flex, adapt, and stay focused.  Others who attended would have their own experiences.

What story would I tell?  Would it be specific enough?  How quickly could I learn, let alone master, the editing software?  Would my Spanish be sufficient to enable me to ask impromptu follow-up questions of the person I was interviewing?  Would I be able to go deep enough to tell a compelling story with the help of a translator?  Can I operate this hand-held video camera without it shaking?  Am I going to get the right b-roll?  Will this story be interesting enough?  Is there enough action?  How do I make subtitles?

The film we made will not win us an Academy Award.  But, that was not the point!  The point was to learn enough to come home and know how to create a documentary film in my own community.

Today, I met with directors of the UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing Biobehavioral Observation & Nutritional Evaluation Laboratory to tour the facility and discuss donor naming opportunities.  What they do is fascinating.  In a home simulated environment, nurse researchers study the interaction between infants and mothers to determine how early cues influence feeding and early onset of obesity.  Other researchers look at the interaction between depressed mothers and children and how psychiatric mental health treatment can bring about behavioral change in the quality of those interactions.  Other faculty are studying the feeding behaviors of frail and/or demented elders.  Nutritional deprivation in hospitals and nursing homes is significant because of the time it takes for elders to eat.  Another nurse researcher is looking at obesity in children, especially Latino children, and is using the laboratory to capture and assess findings.

What is learned in all the studies will be used to train parents, patients, family caregivers, home health and long-term care workers, aids and medical professionals.  Faculty and graduate students can also be trained.

This is an exploding area in health care education.

Behavior is videotaped in the Observation & Nutritional Evaluation Laboratory, then scored according to a recognition system to validate what behavioral characteristics promote or detract from good health.  Researchers modify packaged systems for specific health behaviors. Video is really important, one director says.  It is minimally invasive and helps to see and examine behavior and environmental interaction.  They also know that there are behavioral and biological interactions.  Body chemistry changes depending upon the environment. They have learned through these studies that both behavior and biology can change.

My wheels are clicking!  They have videotaped footage (b-roll).  They have a professional videocamera and film editing software.  They have people power who know how to do this!  We need to conduct interviews with faculty and subjects, and voila, we’ll have a documentary!  I propose this to them and they’re excited.  This is what it means for me to bring it home!