Nursing Student Treks Himalayas to Provide Care to Villages
Northeastern nursing student Ashley Cavignano’s third co- op featured two starkly contrasting healthcare settings: Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Himalayan villages in Nepal.
Cavignano, BHS’16, spent her previous two co- ops at Mass General: the first in the Emergency Department and the second in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit. This third co- op, which she developed herself, spanned from January to April of this year. She split time during the first two months between those same Mass General units, and then spent the next two months preparing for and providing care in Nepal with Himalayan HealthCare—a nonprofit that delivers care and education to poor villagers in the mountains of Nepal.
Looking back, Cavignano said the Nepal experience taught her the value of thinking outside the box. She explained that while Boston hospitals offer world- class equipment, those resources aren’t available in the middle of the mountains, so you must rely on your knowledge and experience and do the best you can with what you have. Case in point: Cavignano’s traveling medical care kit consisted of a stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff, and a flashlight.
“It was a really good experience for me to see the best care in the world and then be in a remote place where I relied on my own assessment skills,” Cavignano said.