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C of I nursing hopeful interns in Jamaica

July 29, 2014

Recent College of Idaho graduate Brianna Allen ’14 always has had an interest in healthcare, resolving to pursue it as a career after taking an EMT course during high school. Even though no one in her family has much medical experience, Allen is fascinated by the science and physiology of the human body.

This summer, that fascination has taken Allen nearly 3,000 miles from Idaho to complete a six-week nursing and medical internship program at Percy Junor Hospital in Manchester, Jamaica. Allen, who majored in health science, began the internship June 1 and will remain on the island through mid-July.

“Jamaica has been a place I wanted to travel since I was young, and I love tropical climates,” Allen said. “I have never experienced another country's culture. I wanted something that would put me out of my comfort zone a bit.”

The program – which Allen secured through volunteer organization Projects Abroad – is a combination four-week nursing, two-week medical internship, which Allen found just as attractive as the tropical locale. While Allen plans on attending nursing school through a joint C of I-Idaho State University program upon her return to the United States, she wanted to experience more than one side of the hospital setting during the internship, and the two week medical rotation helped seal her interest.

Because the program is focused on students who have not yet attended nursing or medical school, many of Allen’s responsibilities will involve introductory medical skills such as taking vital signs, dressing wounds and working directly with patients.

“It was important to me to get some hands-on experience before nursing school,” Allen said. “I also wanted to explore and do something a little different because I’ve never been out of the country before. This is a big leap of faith, but I’m really excited for it.”

Allen will work Monday through Friday at the hospital, but she will have the weekends to explore Jamaica and experience the island culture. As a history minor, Allen is looking forward to learning more about the country’s past during her long stay.

Allen credits her time at the C of I for preparing her for this internship opportunity – particularly her learning experience within the PEAK Curriculum.

“I think the fact that PEAK requires students to take classes in four very different areas of study has helped prepare me for this internship the most,” Allen said.  “Even though I was a health science major, I was required to take cultural anthropology and sociology.  The information I learned in cultural anthropology has taught me to be more understanding of new cultures. I have also developed problem solving skills and important medical knowledge through the science curriculum that will help me stand out as an informed and dedicated volunteer.”

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 12 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit