Mission among the Mayans
Only a year after graduating, Darcy Swagger ‘08 and Jenna Thureen ‘08 were able to begin pursing one of their passions -- medical mission abroad.
“All along during our education at Concordia we knew we wanted to practice our nursing skills together in another country,” says Thureen.
“We were inspired by our professors who told us about their volunteer work and how meaningful it was to them, both personally and professionally,” adds Swagger.
Both work in Minneapolis – Thureen in the neuroscience department at the University of Minnesota Medical Center – Fairview, and Swagger as a medical surgical nurse at Fairview Southdale.
Once they accrued enough vacation time, they joined a well-established volunteer medical team from the Twin Cities that brings healthcare to native people in Guatemala.
“Darcy and Jenna are representative of our graduates,” says Dr. Polly Kloster, chair of the Nursing program. “A large percentage of our nursing students have an interest in mission. It reflects on the kind of students we attract here.””
Swagger and Thureen traveled to Guatemala on their own dimes, worked 14-hour days for nearly two weeks and enjoyed every minute of it.
They worked in postoperative care, helping patients recover from hernia repairs and hysterectomies. Their primary tasks were pain control and to prevent infections in recovery rooms that fell far short of American standards for hygiene and equipment.
“We had to be creative with the resources available to us,” says Swagger. “We developed some new non-technology skills that we don’t use in our regular jobs.”
They will continue to go on missions.
“Nursing is such an appealing career for us because we can travel and serve at the same time,” says Thureen. “It’s one of the gifts we were given at Concordia.”