Nursing is a labor of love—The Nightingale Nursing School (Siguatepeque, Honduras)
The extent of my knowledge to what a nurse does was limited to my doctor’s visits to clinics or hospitals, a kind face that would always treat me with respect, and of course the one with the syringe and needle that would soon take me down a path of gentle torture. I never knew the woman behind the scenes, the training needed not just to acquire skills, but also the special skills needed to keep them strong. The strength of character to show calmness when dealing with hurt, pain, and hopeless situations. It is said that “Nursing is a labor of love” and it is so so true.
Can you imagine being a woman with a calling to serve others in a giving and loving way, and having to juggle that with limited financial and time resources, and also doing all the things it takes to care for your family?
Six years ago, life put me on a path where I met a Reverend who wanted to help women, primarily single mothers, with a vocation in nursing but who had very little means to be able to give themselves a career in a college or a university. She started a training school so they would be educated as nurse’s aids. When I met her, the Ministry of Health was about to close her little classroom because it didn’t meet the standards for an educational facility. She needed help to raise funds for a new building that would keep the school operational, and keep providing a career to women who wanted to be a part of the health care system in my country of birth, Honduras. The seed was planted in my heart, and of course I didn’t know at the time how I would help this Reverend.
It was around that time that I met Dr. Catherine Hansen through a friend who gave us TRX classes. During those sessions we would brainstorm and talk about our passions and life in general. What powerful gym sessions those were! It was also the beginning of the Empowered Women’s Circle and the discovery of how limitless we can become when our minds, bodies and souls are in alignment. Vision and belief take a new form and the impossible suddenly becomes possible.
Fast forward to today, along with amazing partners, we were able to finish the Nightingale Nursing School in Siguatepeque, Honduras! A single classroom school became a modern $250,000 facility with 3 major classrooms, a computer lab, a training clinic, dental clinic, conference room, kitchen, and offices. We have seen 108 students graduate, but more than to see them realize their dreams, we have had the opportunity to see them grow under this amazing program and to learn of their struggles in a society very much dominated by men.
We have seen them achieve their dreams despite the sacrifices made, as they too had to find jobs to sustain their families while studying. We have seen them grow strong as they grow in faith in their spiritual teachings too. This could not have been done without the help of so many caring individuals, The Empowered Women’s Circle being a key contributor to making sure the most promising students had an opportunity to complete the program even when they had financial hardships.
Last year, the Ministry of Health changed the rules and Nightingale was forced to go from a three year to a two year program where the students are required to attend school 8 hours a day on the first year and full internship their second year and thus making it really hard for them to study and provide for their families at the same time. Many dropped out of school, and in order to help them stay in school and be able to give them all an equal chance at scholarships, we are now providing a third of their monthly tuition and transportation costs to all students who apply for that help. They are required to sign a contract where they give a certain number of hours to the care of the building, help in the clinic, and maintain a high grade standard throughout the year. The Empowered Women Circle recently donated $1500 for the scholarship program, and that will give 6 women a chance of a career starting next year.
Nightingale nurses get jobs as soon as they complete their programs. They are highly valued in the community, and most of them get to be leaders in the health care centers where they work. The model of the school has been so successful that two new training facilities are now being considered to de developed in two other cities in the country. There is also consideration to replicate the model in other Central American nations as part of an effort to deal with root causes for irregular migration called “The Love Light Campaign” of which I am a part of.
Nightingale is growing and so is the need to join hands in helping third world nations with a much needed health care system with individuals that not only have very high values, but also have compassion and care for others. In 2022, the goal is to fill the classrooms with 60 new students. It is why giving them help in their education gives them a chance to get out of the “It is Impossible for me” mentality and go for a dream that is very vibrant in their hearts.
Nursing is a labor of love. Together we can nurture that feeling and see it germinate into something beautiful that honors a society. I will forever be thankful to all of those who have made this school/clinic, and this scholarship program a reality. I will forever be thankful for having found The Empowered Women’s Circle. There are no coincidences in life. Hearts that beat in unison and who care about seeing women be their best will always connect.
For more information on the Nightingale Nursing School and its scholarship program please visit: www.nightingalehn.org. For additional information do not hesitate to contact me at 281-757-0272 or email me at email@example.com.