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American and Peruvian nurses learn from each other

From exchange trips between Minot State University and Universidad Alas Peruanas, nursing students and faculty members found more similarities than differences in American and Peruvian health care.

Six Minot State University nursing students and Dawn Fredrich, nursing instructor, returned from a three-week study-abroad tour in Arequipa, Peru, June 10. They observed the Peruvian health care system with UAP Nursing Department faculty and students. For the first time, two UAP students and two faculty members visited MSU and surrounding health care facilities June 16-29. They toured various North Dakota medical facilities, focusing on the nursing profession and how health care is provided for Americans.

"Universidad Alas Peruanas Nursing Department's mission is to train good, professional, savvy, open nurses. This study-abroad tour allowed us to visit a first-world country to learn more about health, especially because nursing is a profession taking care of 'the human,' in both good and bad times," said Elizabeth Cabana, UAP nursing department chair.

"I am an internship student in Peru, but I used to work as a nursing technician in a military hospital, for over three years. The nurses there, and my grandfather when I was younger, encouraged me to study, to learn more," said Aaron Morales.

Cinthya Loza, the other student, was exposed to differing health care techniques and practices, the American culture and North Dakota people. From the experience, she grew personally and professionally. She also acquired a broader view of her future profession.

Maria Olarte, nurse and faculty, is extremely proud of her son, Juan Jose Quesada-Olarte, an alumnus of MSU's nursing program who is currently working at a Bismarck hospital. That connection precipitated the previous two exchange trips between UAP and Minot State. She particularly wanted to learn how MSU instills the value, or desire, in its students to serve others.

"I became involved in the global part of nursing going to Peru in 2011 with Laurie Dimler (nursing instructor) and three other students. I was forever changed, and since that time, I have been very passionate about returning with students so they can see what nursing looks like outside the United States. Really, what we found was many more things are alike than are different," Fredrich said. "And, when the opportunity came for them to visit us, it was wonderful. It is important for us to collaborate about ways we can make nursing better, not just in Peru and the U.S., but for all nurses. We have built a friendship."