Nursing students travel to Puerto Rico for lesson in cultural understanding

Georgia’s Hispanic population is the third fastest growing in the United States‚ according to the 2000 census‚ with an astounding 300 percent increase in the last decade alone. Although many emigrated from Mexico‚ 27 percent of this population comes from Puerto Rico.

Georgia (Mar 10, 2006) — Georgia’s Hispanic population is the third fastest growing in the United States‚ according to the 2000 census‚ with an astounding 300 percent increase in the last decade alone. Although many emigrated from Mexico‚ 27 percent of this population comes from Puerto Rico.

As the No. 2 producer of nursing graduates in the state‚ the WellStar College of Health and Human Services is equipping its students with the tools they need to interact more effectively with this growing community‚ specifically through cultural immersion programs.

“I think that in order for students to truly become culturally sensitive‚ they just can’t read about it‚” Dr. Genie Dorman‚ graduate nursing programs coordinator‚ said.

That’s why last fall‚ Dorman‚ along with Andrea Knopp‚ director of the Center for Community Health Care‚ led 10 nursing students approximately 1‚700 miles south to the popular Caribbean island of Puerto Rico to interact with residents face to face.

“While I was there‚ I realized that a lot of the women won’t seek medical help unless they are extremely ill‚” nursing student Caridad Monteilh said. “It was a real eye−opener‚ especially with me being Spanish. I now know that when I go out into the Hispanic community here‚ I have to get them to trust me more and really take some time with them.”

Because the students were not licensed to practice as registered nurses in Puerto Rico‚ the sole focus of the practicum was to participate in community events in Aibonita‚ a quaint town of 26‚000 that thrives on the poultry and flower industries. While there‚ students stayed in local families’ homes‚ attended presentations focusing on Puerto Rican health beliefs at El Hospital de Mennonite and also met with faculty and students at the Universidad Inter Americana de Puerto Rico to find out about their nursing education program. In addition‚ students provided health education information to residents during the Dia International de la Mujer Latina or International Day of the Latin Woman.





A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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