College of Nursing students spending spring break in Honduras in 2018. Credit: Courtesy Ohio State College of Nursing

Ohio State’s nursing program encourages its students to study abroad, and some programs even require it. But the students heading to Honduras during spring break are looking forward to more than just an academic experience.

The Nursing 5798 Honduras study tour, led by Lucia Jenkusky — an instructor of clinical practice at Ohio State’s College of Nursing — is a nine-day trip aimed to achieve more than course credit.

“A lot of [students] say it’s life changing,” Jenkusky said. “They view the world differently when they get back.”

This year’s trip includes bachelor nursing students, graduate nursing students, a pharmacy student and a Spanish student who will act as an interpreter. Accompanying the students will be leaders, nurse practitioners from both Ohio State and Nationwide Children’s hospital and a pharmacist, Jenkusky said.

According to Jenkusky, the group will be hosted by World Gospel Mission missionaries, who are not only alumni of Ohio State, but have been working and living in Honduras for more than 30 years.

The group will go into villages and educate the people on the basics of health, while also teaching nursing high schools the basics of health care, teaching the students things like CPR, suturing and medicine administration, Jenkusky said.

Jenkusky said the group will go to several villages and set up one-day free clinics where they will offer screenings and basic preventative medicine. During this time, the group will get a real glimpse into what the needs of many Honduran communities are and the lack of resources in the community.

She said the trip will challenge students to embrace a new culture, many for the first time, and learn just how much medical care differs across the world. She added that the students will learn how to counsel people medically who might not have access to clean water.

“[Students learn to] counsel people differently when [they’re] in a low resource setting where the access to fresh water may not be the most economical choice,” Jenkusky said.

Lara Flaute, a graduate nursing student at Ohio State, said she looks at this trip as an opportunity to become more culturally competent.

“There are aspects of being a part of a study abroad trip [that require] cultural humility and sensitivity,” Flaute said. “Those skills are maybe a little tougher to put on a resume, but they’re incredibly valuable.”

The group will have the opportunity to post about their experiences on a blog that will be updated throughout their time in Honduras. The blog can be found at