In June, nine Columbia College of Nursing (CCON) students, CCON President Jill Berg, and Clinical Associate Professor Barb Brenzel, traveled to New Orleans to volunteer their time with the House of Charity. The mission of the Sisters of Charity Federation is to respond to the needs of those who are poor and marginalized. They commit to use the energy of love, the gifts and talents of the members of the community, and material and spiritual resources to collaborate in creating systemic changes locally and globally for the common good of all.
Students spent time volunteering at a local clinic. In addition, they spent time at two homeless facilities. They hosted blood pressure screenings at the Ozanam Inn, and they washed feet of the homeless and provided new socks at the Lantern Light. The students also spent time visiting the Lower 9th District, the area where hurricane Katrina caused the most devastation. Although the storm passed ten years ago, the area continues to be in need of attention.
While in New Orleans, students had unique experiences with a very different healthcare system. One student shared, “I quickly realized that many people there were experiencing barriers to good health because of personal or external factors. There was a lack of shelter, nutrition, transportation, hygiene, education, and health insurance due to economic factors... The whole trip was very eye-opening and impactful; it has inspired me to advocate for social justice and further develop my professional persona.”
Students learned more about themselves and experiences of others living under very different conditions, and how these factors will affect them in their roles as nurses. CCON strives for students to be advocates for social justice and stresses the importance of providing equal care to all populations regardless of situation or status.