The University of Texas at Tyler Magazine - Fall 2010
From Seeing the World … to Saving the World
One Student’s Life-Changing Journey
EDITOR’S NOTE: As a sidebar to the GATE special section, Allison Green shared her thoughts via email while working in Togo, Africa, onboard Mercy Ships’ Africa Mercy hospital boat.
As an undergraduate nursing student at The University of Texas at Tyler, Allison Green didn’t expect many surprises on her first trip to the Guatemalan village of San Raymundo.
She certainly never expected that the trip and others to follow would help change the course of her life.
Green was part of the first team of undergraduate students from UT Tyler’s College of Nursing to offer medical help to poverty-stricken natives of Guatemala. For a full week, she worked with Refugee International volunteers at a remote health clinic about an hour and a half outside of Guatemala City.
From operating hygiene clinics for children to working on life-changing surgeries, the students saw a different view of life.
“We thought it would be typical clinicals,’’ Green said. “However, our professors placed us in nursing roles to stretch and grow us. I found my love of the operating room on my first trip to Guatemala and returned three more times, once more as a student and twice in charge of the OR (operating room) in the clinic in San Raymundo. Experiences like these showed me there are no borders in nursing and helping people that are in need.’’
Because of those global opportunities, Green found a passion to help the sick and hurting in the forgotten corners of the world. Now, the UT Tyler graduate is in her second year as an OR nurse for Mercy Ships, a compassion organization that offers medical help to Africa’s disadvantaged.
Each year, a Mercy Ships hospital ship docks at an African port to perform life-saving surgeries and procedures for those in desperate need over several months. Volunteer surgeons, nurses and support staff help transform the lives of patients who suffer with everything from clubfeet and goiters to cleft palates and burns.
Green has worked in the operating room with reconstructive surgeries, cataracts, plastic and much more. “I do love my pediatrics patients with those precious cleft lip smiles,” she said.
“Attending UT Tyler and going through the nursing program definitely shaped my future, she said. “I would not be here doing what I love in Africa if I had not experienced worldwide nursing while I was in school.’’
She added, “I believe a global focus would give students more opportunities to use their knowledge and skills to benefit not only their ‘neighbors,’ but the world.”