Every year a new group of nursing students from the Boston College Connell School of Nursing Global Health Initiative travel to Central America equipped with the clinical knowledge they learned from their textbooks and a copy of Donde no hay doctor (Spanish edition of Where There Is No Doctor). Ronna E. Krozy, EdD, RN, who has led the program since 1991, first to Ecuador and since 2005 to Nicaragua, has found Where There Is No Doctor to be the most important resource her students have.
The BC nursing students provide direct nursing care to patients at the Nueva Vida clinic in Ciudad Sandino, a municipality of Managua, Nicaragua’s capital. The students also work with Nicaraguan promotoras – dedicated volunteer health promoters – who teach their neighbors about how to prevent illness, how to care for themselves and their families, and when to seek medical attention. According to Krozy, her students don’t need more books with high-level scientific language, they need materials that will help them teach people the practical and important information without speaking down to them. “Where There Is No Doctor is an essential resource for our work. It breaks down information in a culturally sensitive and very accessible way.” Over the past few years, Krozy has also begun incorporating Helping Health Workers Learn into her program because it helps students think critically about caring for and engaging with their patients in a way that is sustainable for the community.
A number of years ago, to better prepare her students for their work in Nicaragua, Krozy began using Where There Is No Doctor in a new Spanish-language tutoring program. It helps them gain the language they need to communicate better with the people they serve. Students and tutors use Where There Is No Doctor to role play and discuss topics that the promotoras have identified as being pertinent to the community. Krozy states “Where There Is No Doctor has been instrumental to our program’s success because it enhances the student’s ability to communicate important information to people in an understandable way. No other book does that.”