College of Nursing Delegation to Treat Orphans and Families in Honduras

SPOKANE, Wash. — Jenny Edminster, a recent family nurse practitioner graduate of the Intercollegiate College of Nursing/Washington State University College of Nursing, hoped she had not seen the last of the children at the Rancho Santa Fe Orphanage in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Edminster and her physician husband, Scott, spent three months in the Honduras capital last fall. Now, Edminster and a delegation of ICN faculty, undergraduate students and alumni are heading back to Tegucigalpa March 31 to provide essential health care services to orphans, families and the community.

Spearheading the nine-person delegation on a 10-day venture is ICN associate professor Lorna Schumann. The team plans to assess and treat the health needs of 100-150 patients per day. Schumann’s desire to help the underserved population stems from a visit she made to the Edminsters in November.

“The vital medical care Jenny and Scott provided at the orphanage in Honduras was evident. But I saw an entire community in desperate need of medical care and human outreach services,” Schumann said. “Part of our mission at the WSU College of Nursing is to identify and address the needs of underserved populations wherever they might exist. This is an excellent opportunity for our skilled nurses and students to help a population in need.”

The delegation will stay at the Rancho Santa Fe Orphanage and focus on a full range of health care assessments, nutrition and primary care services for the 585 children at the orphanage and through the Tegucigalpa clinics. Its work will center on primary patient care services and first aid, pediatric CPR and HIV education.

The team includes December family nurse practitioner graduates Edminster, Rhoda Friend and Susan McFadden; students Wendy Smith, Heather Amity, Polli Swensen, Warren Johns and Trena Hamlin; and faculty members Maria del Rosario “Rosie” Valdez and Schumann. Valdez, an expert in Hispanic cultures, will extend her Wyeth Ayerst Women’s Health Research Grant on folk and health practices of Hispanic women with HIV to women in Honduras, directed by Dr. Enoc Padilla, an infectious disease specialist. Valdez also will serve as a translator for the delegation.

The contingent will bring donated and purchased medical supplies, clothing, toys and emergency equipment. The toys and clothing will be distributed to the hundreds of patients seen every day. Each member was asked to bring something to distribute to the people they will come in contact with. Valdez is taking about 100 personally collected teddy bears to give to children and women.

Schumann is optimistic about creating an annual pilgrimage to Honduras. “Our chief goal is to help others. We plan to maintain contact with the people in Honduras and continue to help them during the coming years,” she said.