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Nursing Students
"It is a wonderful opportunity for (MSU nursing students Laura Gray, Alexandra Hemingson, and Mecaila). You can learn many things in the classroom, but there is nothing like actually experiencing it for yourself."
Melissa Fettig, MSU Student Health and Development Director

MSU Profiles

A nurse to those in need

Minot State University's nursing program returned to Haiti for the second straight year to help those in need during Spring Break. The trip, however, almost didn't happen.

With school and work, receiving the correct amount of fundraising became more difficult, it started to look like there would not be MSU student nurses involved in the trip to Haiti. When it seemed like a lost cause, three students - Laura Gray, Alexandra Hemingson, and Mecaila Martin - did their part.

"It is a wonderful opportunity for them," said MSU Student Health and Development Director Melissa Fettig. "You can learn many things in the classroom, but there is nothing like actually experiencing it for yourself."

The opportunity to travel 2,589 miles to help those who are struggling medically became a reality for Gray, Hemingson, and Martin along with Fettig and MSU nursing instructor Renee Duncan. After it was approved, the first step Fettig and Duncan had to take was getting the word out to the student nurses about this trip.

With funding secured, the next biggest preparation project was gathering supplies for the needs of the Haitian people.

"We asked the doctor from Puerto Rico that we are paired with what they needed over there. They needed everything!" exclaimed Fettig.

Contacting the students and faculty at the college, telling friends and family, and going on local news stations were some of the initiatives that were taken by the nurses. Even the little things like a toothbrush were helpful. The donations poured in.

As soon as they landed it was time to get to work. During the bumpy ride up to the mountains, they discussed what they needed to do with the doctor who partnered with them.

"Last year we saw more of the city life, but this year we went up into the mountains," Fettig said. "It was so beautiful, but the people are in dire need of help. We expected to have a lot to do, but when we got there we were blown away."

They helped over 100 people yet still had to turn over 100 individuals away. Medical needs ranged from simple items like new glasses to high blood pressure, breast cancer, and cleft palates.

"It was hard to turn away so many people, but if you don't have the resources then you just can't help them." said Fettig.

Even with all the supplies gathered throughout those few months, it still wasn't enough for everyone.

"We are anxious to get back out there," she added "We have a lot more things to accomplish, and we hope to recruit some more people."

Next year will bring more opportunities for other people in different careers to go along. Fettig plans on recruiting students from MSU's Speech-Language Pathology program to help in the specialties of swallowing disorders, cleft of the lip and pallet, and vocal chord damage.

"This experience is something I wish I could've done when I was in college," Fettig said. "I would encourage everyone who has a chance to experience something like this to take it."