In the mix: Books in flight: Nursing school sends textbooks, supplies to African students

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, October 6, 2008

As a nursing student in the United States, it's sometimes hard to imagine a world where bandages, stethoscopes, and up-to-date books are rare commodities. Students and professors at Mount Carmel College of Nursing (MCCN) in Columbus, OH, took action to bring information and some of those supplies to fellow nursing students in Gambia, Africa.

When MCCN graduate Kellie Seelig approached the end of her two-year peace corps duty in Gambia earlier this year, she recognized the pressing need for adequate resources in the region's nursing schools. She asked Dawn Hughes, MS, RN, assistant professor at MCCN, for assistance in setting up a "sister" program between the college in Ohio and three of the Gambian nursing schools.

One of the first initiatives was to set up e-mail pen-pals between the MCCN students and the African students, said Hughes.

"It was interesting since they didn't consistently have electricity [in Gambia]," says Hughes, who is a faculty advisor for the Student Nurses' Association of Mount Carmel. "They were lucky for an hour of messaging time a month. But students seemed to enjoy it."

But MCCN students knew they couldn't stop there. The college decided to raise money to purchase nursing supplies (such as stethoscopes, bandages, and scissors) to ship to Africa. They hosted a Mystery Dinner Theater, and also accepted donations and new/gently used medical supplies. In total, the students raised about $1,400 to purchase books and supplies, says Hughes.

"The students did a nice job of raising money," says Hughes. "To raise as much as they did was extraordinary."

Originally, MCCN wasn't going to ship books to Africa due to the incredibly expensive shipping costs ...

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