Ten senior nursing students recently gave a lively presentation at St. Angela’s College, Sligo of their trip to the Marian Shrine in Lourdes, discussing everything from preparations to the enormous learning that took place while abroad.
The ten students Shannon, Jessica, Ciana, Tracey, Stephanie, Hannah, Louise, Claire, Catherine, and Emma hail from counties Monaghan, Sligo, Donegal, Cavan, Louth, Leitrim, and Mayo and are all senior nursing students.
Siobhan Healy-McGowan, Allocation Officer in the Department of Nursing, Health Sciences and Disability Studies, explained ‘as part of their education, nursing students participate in practical work to enable them to give expert nursing to people with health challenges and a placement in Lourdes extends this learning’.
The volunteers explained how they gained valuable knowledge of the challenges faced for a person living with a long-term health challenge, as well as for their families.
The students shared ‘This is one of the best experiences we have ever participated in. No one will forget the week or the people we met.’ They also highlighted the importance of reflective learning, to continue to support people and their families. Senior Nursing Students with Siobhan Healy-McGowan, Allocation Officer
before heading off to Lourdes.
‘The experience in Lourdes can be overwhelming’ related Evelyn McManus, Lecturer in Nursing. ‘The nursing students are supported by the Director of Nursing, a mentor and the whole team from the Dioceses involved’.
Dioceses organise their own pilgrimage with a voluntary team of dedicated, specialist skilled people. ‘Kilmore, Ardagh and Clonmacnois and Elphin are committed to this partnership with St. Angela’s and we meet all the standards and requirements of both our Registration body, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, and the academic awarding body, NUI Galway’, added Ms. McManus.Apparition
This is the fourth year that students of nursing have undertaken the trip. Since the apparition of the Immaculate Conception to Bernadette Soubirous in 1859, Lourdes has become a major place of Roman Catholic Pilgrimage and miraculous healings with approximately 5,000,000 pilgrims annually.
Many pilgrims go to seek inner peace and others go with various health challenges, requiring helpers or ongoing medical or nursing support over a 24hour basis. ‘The knowledge and experience we gained from the pilgrimage will be with us all through our nursing career’ said the students during their presentation. Current nursing students, top picture
, have already begun their fundraising campaign for next year.
More details can be found on their Gofundme page https://www.gofundme.com/nursing-students-volunteering