ABSN Alumna Provides Care to Nations in Need

Monica Monari

As part of our globally-focused curriculum, students may participate in global clinical immersion experiences. These experiences ensure nursing students are culturally sensitive, aware of current and emerging health needs and are able to address health disparities locally, nationally and globally. Each global experience is developed with faculty to meet specific programs and academic objectives.

One of the reasons ABSN ’14 alumna Monica Monari chose to attend DUSON was the opportunity to participate in a clinical immersion experience. As a student, she traveled to Honduras with a multidisciplinary group of Duke health care students.

“My Honduras experience reinforced that global medicine was something I’m truly passionate about,” said Monari. “It encouraged the idea that I could be involved with global medicine throughout my entire career.”

Monari has been involved in global medicine since graduating from DUSON. She has volunteered twice with Mercy Ships, an organization that uses hospital ships to travel and provide free health care. Her first experience was in Benin for six months and in Douala, Cameroon for six weeks. She first learned of the organization while working as an intern at UC Davis Medical Center while attending DUSON.

“I was interning in the operating room at UC Davis Medical Center and there was a surgical journal sitting on a table in the break room with a feature article on the ship,” said Monari. “When I read about the work Mercy Ships does, I knew right away I wanted to work with them.”

During Monari’s time volunteering with Mercy Ships, she’s worked as a nurse in the ships’ hospitals. Monari says her job on the ships was very similar to her nursing job in the States in the sense she was giving medications, doing wound care and managing her patient’s surgical recovery. Monari was also able to spend time talking with and engaging with her patients. 

“Many of the patients we saw had experienced some kind of isolation or rejection due to their medical condition,” said Monari. “It was important to work with them, restoring their sense of value and worth.”

During her time volunteering, Monari also had opportunities to engage in the local communities with her co-workers from the area who served on the ship as interpreters. The communities welcomed the Mercy Ship staff into their homes for meals, into their churches and welcomed them into the community as friends.

Monari said “Part of what made the experience so meaningful was the ability to get to know the people, the culture and the way of life on a personal level.”

Mercy Ships, as an organization, aims to constantly improve their approach and interventions benefiting the countries it serves in a sustainable way. One of the ways Mercy Ships does this is through offering training to local health care professionals through courses and on-ship training. Monari says working with local health care providers on the ship was a humbling experience that reminded her of how privileged she is being a part of a global nursing profession.

When not volunteering overseas, Monari resides in Durham, NC where she works as a clinical instructor at DUSON and in the float pool at UNC Hospital.

DUSON offers students the opportunity to participate in global clinical immersion experiences through the Office of Global and Community Health Initiatives.

Graduate students can use global health experiences to satisfy a portion of their academic requirements, to complete an independent study in global health, or conduct a research project at the DNP or PhD level. Global experiences for graduate students vary in length from two to four weeks and many students find it best to pursue a global experience near the end of their educational program.

Learn more about DUSON’s graduate global clinical immersion experiences here.

ABSN students who choose to pursue international clinical placement experiences travel abroad to fulfill their clinical hours. Students travel to one of a variety of DUSON’s clinical sites for a two-week immersion experience during the break between their second and third semester. The global sites offer students rich learning environments with invaluable insights into diverse health care systems, community-based initiative and treatment protocols in different cultural settings.

Learn more about the ABSN student global clinical immersion experiences here.

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