Nursing Students Traveling to Dominican Republic

Kent State University at Ashtabula nursing students will be traveling to the Dominican Republic in May for an experiential learning opportunity that is the culmination of the "Professional Nursing with a Global Perspective" course being taught this spring. Course professors, Tamra Courey, MSN, and Julie Senita, MSN, will be travelling with eight students and Dr. Lori Herpen and Dr. John DeCato, two local podiatrists.  The group will spend a week serving the medical needs of the Barahona community in the Dominican Republic.   

Courey and Senita feel that the trip is an amazing opportunity for students to learn and understand the role of the professional nurse in diverse situations and to appreciate how culture affects healthcare.  "The students are clearly invested in learning about culturally relevant nursing practice and expanding their knowledge about culturally competent care," Courey said.    

The course is offered as part of Kent State Ashtabula's registered nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing completion program for RNs seeking an advanced degree.  Part of the course requirements involve students designing and presenting health teaching projects to individuals living in the country.  The students will teach residents about sun safety, wound and foot care, and dental hygiene.  In addition to the teaching aspect of the trip, students will be working on a health-related community service project to eliminate dirt floors in some of the homes in the community.  Students will also volunteer at a local school.

Kristy Cunningham, a registered nurse working in the emergency room at Ashtabula County Medical Center, is working on earning her bachelor's degree and is enrolled in Courey and Senita's class.  "I am looking forward to this trip because I feel very fortunate to be able to provide care to those who truly have no access to healthcare.  I know that this experience will humble me in a way I cannot yet imagine, however, I am very much looking forward to the journey," Cunningham remarked.

Dr. John DeCato has been to the Barahona community twice before to volunteer his medical services.  He looks forward to Kent State Ashtabula's nursing students having the same opportunity.  "The Kent State University nursing students will have experiences and memories which will last a lifetime.  The benefits from this type of educational experience are invaluable," DeCato said.  Drs. DeCato and Herpen will be providing podiatric care to area residents while escorting the students on the trip. 

Dr. Susan Stocker, Dean and Chief Administrative Officer of the Ashtabula Campus, is excited about the opportunity for students, as well.  "The leadership our nursing faculty has demonstrated is exceptional.  Tamra Courey and Julie Senita have organized an international experience for our nursing students that will allow them to use their nursing skills to make a difference in the lives of others," Stocker said. 

"The enthusiasm and support we have received from the students, the campus, and the community has been overwhelming.  We hope this trip opens up future study abroad and experiential learning opportunities for students on the Ashtabula campus," Senita said.  Students embarking on this inaugural nursing trip include: Kristy Cunningham, Heather Halford, Chris Jarvis, Deborah Keyes, Gabrielle Landon, Candice Pollard, Crystal Severino, and Stephanie Truckey. 

Students going on the trip are currently gathering medical supplies and donations to assist them in teaching residents of Barahona.  Those interested in donating should contact Tamra Courey at 440-964-4260 or

POSTED: Wednesday, May 01, 2013 04:33 PM
UPDATED: Thursday, December 08, 2022 08:34 AM
College of Nursing