In early November, eight Montgomery College nursing students and four nursing faculty traveled to Glouchester, Virginia, for a volunteer corps trip with Remote Area Medical (RAM), a nonprofit provider of mobile medical clinics. In the two days they were there, the group served with other volunteers to provide over $194,293 in medical services to 381 patients.
It was the second time an MC cohort had joined RAM to go treat patients in a rural location. The organization delivers free dental, vision, and medical services to underserved and uninsured individuals.
“The dental needs are by far the most dramatic. People mostly come to have teeth pulled,” said Nursing Professor Lena Choudhary. She said no one realizes how much poor dental care affects their health, their self-esteem, and their ability to work. The volunteers helped by triaging patients, providing health education, dental assistance, collecting vital signs, and providing glucose testing.
Many patients, who arrived at midnight the night before from nearby towns, had not had any dental, vision, or medical care in years. The patients were all ages; they included children and working adults.
“Our students are very interested in helping and providing health to the underserved population here and abroad,” Choudhary said. She believes this kind of volunteer opportunity helps them get a taste of and experience in what they want to do with their future.
It was an experience that reinforces the idea of caring without judgement and leaving any preconceived biases at the door
Montgomery College student Mara Monroe said it was a rewarding experience and she highly recommends that any nursing student participate. “It was an experience that reinforces the idea of caring without judgement and leaving any preconceived biases at the door,” she said.
Madeleine Koblin, another MC student who joined, described the experience as very hands on and said that it felt like a clinical rotation with all the nurses and doctors in place. “You learn a lot and help immensely,” Koblin said.
To volunteer and for more information, visit Remote Area Medical’s website. Anyone can join, whether or not they are part of the Montgomery College community.