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Student Spotlight: Noelle Jahn

Photograph courtesy of Noelle Jahn Nursing majors Noelle Jahn and Faren Sanford smile with girls from the Spiti Valley in the Indian Himalayas.
Photograph courtesy of Noelle Jahn
Nursing majors Noelle Jahn and Faren Sanford smile with girls from the Spiti Valley in the Indian Himalayas.

Living for two weeks in a hot, humid climate surrounded by mosquitoes takes resilience. One Chico State student took the challenge to volunteer abroad and make a difference.

Noelle Jahn, a senior nursing student, spent time working in clinics in Nigeria and India this past summer.

Jahn made her trip with an organization called Mission to Heal, which sends volunteers to help some of the poorest people in the world.

Diagnosing patients, providing medication to locals, assisting with medical examinations and educating visitors about ways to stay healthy were some of the responsibilities Jahn had in Nigeria.

“One of my favorites parts about being in Nigeria was having the opportunity to care for all the pediatric patients.”

-Noelle Jahn

Both clinics in Nigeria and India were powered by generators alone.

“You realize that you can really do a lot and make a big difference without a lot of grand resources,” Jahn said.

Caring for the local children and helping them stay alive was key for Jahn during her trip to Nigeria.

“One of my favorites parts about being in Nigeria was having the opportunity to care for all the pediatric patients,” Jahn said.

Many of the health cases in Nigeria involved children, she said. Children under the age of five are the most at risk of dying.

One woman came in who had dangerously low oxygen levels and had trouble breathing, Jahn said.

“All we had with us in the clinic was an oxygen concentration machine,” she said. “We just tried to give her as much oxygen as possible.”

They advised the woman’s sons had to drive their mother as quickly as possible to the nearest hospital, which was hours away.

“We didn’t think she could make it,” Jahn said.

However, Jahn last heard that the woman was alive and well.

“The likelihood of her surviving would not been good if we didn’t oxygenate her at the clinic,” she said.

Unfortunately, not every case had a happy ending.

“There was some devastating moments,” Jahn said. “Two children died when I was there.”

One little girl wasn’t feeling well and had a seizure in the car, she said.

“We immediately began CPR and tried everything to save her life.” Jahn said. “We were unsuccessful.”

The girl’s grandmother was incredibly grateful that the health professionals at the clinic tried to save her granddaughter’s life when they saw her later, she said.

“She was so appreciative and invited us into her home,” Jahn said. “It was so moving and heartwarming.”

Jahn will be heading back to Nigeria during the winter break to do more work in the clinical field.

“One reason why I really want to go back is because I feel like I will be more prepared and have so much more to offer,” she said.

 

Sharon Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @SharonBMartin on Twitter.

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