Students in the nursing course "Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness" are getting a first-hand look at how a health care system operates in a foreign country on a unique trip to Rome and Florence, Italy. Matthew Zacchilli ’15 and Laurie Bennett, clinical faculty, check in from the road. Read our news story to learn more about this trip.
Matthew Zacchilli ’15:
Today is bittersweet as we leave the city of Rome to head to Florence for the last length of our stay in Italy. We have already learned, seen, and experienced so much in only four days. As a group, we toured St. Camillus Museum and Church. St. Camillus, the patron saint of healthcare workers, started his mission with the philosophy that one should not only treat the body, but also the soul. As Saint Anselm College nursing students, we strive to embody this idea of holistic nursing for all our patients.
After the tour, we were able to have dinner and interview two Italian male nurses. It was interesting to learn about their nationalized healthcare system. As I sat at the table with 23 of my female classmates, it was surprising to learn that the ratio of male to female nurses in Italy, according to the men we interviewed, is around 30 to 70 males per females, a number much greater than I have seen in my experience at home.
The next day, we toured one of the oldest hospitals and medical schools, Santo Spirito Hospital. We were able to see the similarities, differences, and evolution of the medical profession. On our last day in Rome, we had an assignment to take 90 minutes alone and wander and explore a short distance from our hotel. We were asked to go into a store or cafe and ask questions and order a beverage. After, we were to observe people in a public place, and then reflect on our experience. My own experience involved a sense of confusion, loneliness, and nervousness. These are all things often experienced by refugees and immigrants, who come to the United States. This lasted 90 minutes for me, but for most, these feelings last years and possibly a lifetime. This experience gave me insight that I believe will help me in caring for and understanding patients who have a different culture than myself. Can't wait to see what Florence has to offer us!
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