Nursing students visit United Nations
University of Delaware nursing students visit the United Nations.


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8:15 a.m., May 27, 2010----A group of nursing students from the University of Delaware recently visited the United Nations as part of a field experience for a junior-level course, Psychosocial Nursing.

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“This unique trip allowed the students to gain an enhanced perspective of global mental health issues and to determine how nurses and other health care providers can best assist in efforts to promote optimal health,” says Cynthia Diefenbeck, assistant professor in the School of Nursing.

The visit was hosted by Holly Shaw, associate professor of nursing at Adelphi University in New York and Adelphi's representative to the U.N.

Anke Strauss of the International Organization for Migration briefed the students on the causes, consequences, and interventions for human trafficking, including information on how health care providers can assist in detecting and counseling victims.

David Del Conte of the Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs provided an in-depth overview of the U.N.'s role in responding to worldwide humanitarian crises. He also highlighted the role of health care providers as well as the need to provide mental health support for healthcare providers following their missions.

The event also included a tour of the U.N. headquarters and a personalized lunch presentation in the Delegates Dining Room.

“The visit was awe inspiring and overwhelming at the same time,” says Robbi Alexander, a graduate student at UD in psychiatric nursing and a registered nurse in the Community Education and Outreach Program at Princeton HealthCare System. “It was truly amazing to be that close to people who have firsthand knowledge of some of the most remote places on Earth, who possess such an expanded world view.

“Every nurse has at his or her heart goals that are very similar to the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, of the U.N. Whether on a local level, or through work with individual patients, nurses strive to make a difference in ending hunger, poverty, human inequality, and child and maternal mortality, and they strive to form partnerships and alliances on behalf of those who are vulnerable. Following the trip, I made a commitment to myself to take a fresh look at the work that I do, to find ways to incorporate or expand on goals similar to the MDGs.”

The group included Diefenbeck, Alexander, seven current juniors, and a recent alumna of the School of Nursing.

Article by Diane Kukich