Finding Inspiration Abroad
In the burn unit of Kanti Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, Danielle Bernardin meets a 4-year-old girl with burns so serious she can hardly walk. The girl speaks no English, but that doesn’t matter.
Bernardin, a senior nursing major, realizes in the moments spent playing with the young patient that laughing, smiling and a positive attitude are universal.
For two weeks over the university’s winter break, Bernardin volunteered at the only children’s hospital in Nepal, rotating between the oncology unit, burn unit, intensive care unit and the operating room as part of a placement program with Work the World, a company dedicated to partnering overseas hospitals and healthcare students.
Bernardin credits Widener with helping her develop strong leadership skills, confidence, support, and a bold attitude – exactly what she needed to take on this global learning experience. While the experience helped her develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for diverse cultures, backgrounds, and viewpoints, Bernardin says that the greatest lesson she learned was that she had truly found her calling with a nursing career.
She explained that a lack of resources in the Nepal hospital was a true testament to the nurses’ abilities to work with what they have to ensure the best for their patients. “It showed me that, even on the other side of the world, the nurses’ main priority is the safety of their patients, and they make sure that the care they provide them with is the best care that [the patients] could possibly receive.”
Back at home, Widener’s School of Nursing provides opportunities for hands-on learning in the school’s state-of-the-art simulation center, clinical experiences in some of the best healthcare facilities in the nation, and community partnerships with CityTeam and the Crozer-Keystone Health System. The school also offers a leadership course with a clinical component, during which seniors are taught what it means to be a role model, how to work with others, as well as how nurses execute leadership roles.
In fact, it was a pediatric clinical rotation that empowered Bernardin to follow through with the placement in Nepal. “What really amazes me is the young patients’ resilience towards disease, and it was inspiring to see this in a different environment.”