An Irish Blessing

BY MEREDITH MASON
Report From Newport:Fall 2013

Nursing majors earn three credits in the Emerald Isle during service-learning course.

With a demanding schedule that includes intensive coursework, clinical rotations and board exams, nursing majors who want to study abroad usually opt for convenient short-term programs offered in late spring and summer.

For the past two years, Ireland has been the destination of choice for some 45 nursing majors, who spend two weeks in the Emerald Isle each May hanks to a three-credit study-abroad course developed by Dr. Eileen Gray, assistant professor of nursing, and department chairwoman; and nursing lecturer Jacqueline Slevin Janicki ’72.

“The goal of this course is to provide students with a chance to learn about the differences in health care between Ireland and the United States, and to learn about the history and culture of Northern Ireland and the border area of the Republic, Janicki says.

From May 25 through June 8, 25 nursing majors traveled with Janicki and Gray to northwest Ireland to fulfill their nursing service-learning requirement. “The students received three credits for going,” Gray says. “This is a course they are required to take, whether locally in Newport or abroad in Ireland.”

During their stay, students had a full schedule that included learning about Ireland’s hospice and palliative care system and visiting with nursing students at Queens University and patients at Foyle Hospice in Derry/Londonderry.

“We visited with patients in the day center, shadowed nurses in the inpatient center, worked on fundraising activities for the program and helped out on the grounds of the hospice,” Janicki explains.

Students also spent time at Donegal Hospice in Letterkenny, at the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice and at Queen’s University in Belfast. This year, students presented the Children’s Hospice with a quilt made by Salve Regina alumna Millie Corr Singleton ’71, a close friend of Janicki’s. “The quilt was very well received and the folks at the children’s hospice were so appreciative,” Janicki says.

The group also had the chance to take in some of Ireland’s legendary sights and participate din a number of sightseeing excursions during their two-week stay. Day trips were spent in Derry, host city for the UK City of Culture 2013; and Belfast, home to the Titanic Museum. Students also explored the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Dunluce Castle and Giants Causeway. “The cliffs at Giants Causeway made the Cliff Walk in Newport look tiny,” Hannah Spillane ’14 says.

During their last two days in Ireland, students stayed in Leopardstown, a short train ride away from Dublin.

The program has been approved again for next year and Janicki and Gray are looking forward to their third drip across the pond.

“Most of our students have no idea about Irish culture and health care services, so this trip is always an eye-opening experience for them,” Janicki says.

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