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Algonquin College nursing students hold Teddy Bear Clinic to support upcoming Guatemala trip

By Ryan Paulsen, The Daily Observer

Ryan Paulsen / Daily Observer

Two-year-old Charleigh Dooley looks on with concern as Algonquin College nursing student Lauren Murphy tends to the injured leg of "Minnie" the mouse during the Teddy Bear Clinic at the Pembroke Mall on Saturday, April 18. The clinic was held in support of the third-year nursing students' upcoming trip to Guatemala at the end of May, where they will be working with local medical professionals to see first-hand how treatment is done in a far different setting than the hospitals and clinics of Canada.

Ryan Paulsen / Daily Observer Two-year-old Charleigh Dooley looks on with concern as Algonquin College nursing student Lauren Murphy tends to the injured leg of "Minnie" the mouse during the Teddy Bear Clinic at the Pembroke Mall on Saturday, April 18. The clinic was held in support of the third-year nursing students' upcoming trip to Guatemala at the end of May, where they will be working with local medical professionals to see first-hand how treatment is done in a far different setting than the hospitals and clinics of Canada.

A group of Algonquin College nursing students was on hand at the Pembroke Mall on Saturday to perform medical procedures on a different sort of patient, though no less important to their young loved ones.

The Teddy Bear Clinic saw youngsters arrive in droves, bringing their favourite, injured stuffed animals or other treasured toys to be tended to. The service was provided at no specific charge, though a donation jar was displayed, as the event was a fundraising effort to help cover the costs of an upcoming trip to Guatemala at the end of May.

"The third year nursing students from Algonquin College are going on a volunteer nursing trip to Guatemala," explains teddy bear clinic coordinator and third-year student Zaineb Al-Haddawi, "and basically working in clinics, doing assessments for kids, vaccinations and all that kind of thing. It's going to be a wonderful opportunity for us, and a real eye-opener."

A total of 15 students and three instructors will be headed to Antigua, a small city in the central highlands of the country, roughly 45-minutes by car from the capital, Guatemala City. It's the first year that Algonquin has sent nursing students abroad, and Al-Haddawi expects that the rewards for the future nurses will be more than just academic.

"This trip is going to be counted for credits towards the program," she says, "but also travelling is an education in itself. Going through a foreign experience like this is going to add to how we provide care here, and adds diversity to how we provide that care."

ryan.paulsen@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @PRyanPaulsen


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