Lee mixes passions on medical mission trip to Honduras

During previous summer breaks, Camilla Lee worked on hospital research projects and as a CNA. However, the Hastings College senior chemistry major hoped to gain more medical knowledge in the summer of 2019. She spent eight-weeks in Honduras for medical mission work and found exactly what she was looking for.

Lee traveled with A Broader View (ABV), a missionary program that allowed her to mix two passions: medicine and mission work. ABV strives to connect volunteers with people around the world to make a difference in their lives through meaningful service-learning volunteer work, making it a perfect fit for Lee.

Camilla Lee taking blood pressure of patient
Hastings College student Camilla Lee takes patients blood pressure while volunteering on a medical mission trip in Honduras.

While looking at ABV’s list of 27 countries volunteers can travel to, Lee hoped to travel to a Spanish speaking country. When she saw Honduras was an option, she made her decision.

The Mead, Colorado, native lived in Honduras with a host family during her stay. She spent her mornings in a free clinic taking patients’ blood pressures, charting vitals and making gauze. After lunch, Lee took Spanish classes during the first half of her stay to become more fluent in the language. During the last half, she spent afternoons volunteering in an emergency room at a hospital.

In the hospital, Lee measured vital signs, gathered supplies and observed surgeries and births and assisted with various tasks. She said she enjoyed her time in the E.R. because it gave her opportunities to see procedures and the functionings of an impoverished hospital.

“The hospital was always short staffed, so any type of help they could get from volunteers was much appreciated,” she said.

Lee said working in the hospital was an eye-opening experience because she saw differences in how people receive care. There were people who were short on money coming in and many had only received treatment for what they could afford, ignoring other medical issues.

“You never know what a person is going through, and I always knew people struggled with medical bills, but I watched people ignore major medical issues that needed to be treated,” she said.

With a new in-depth understanding of Spanish, Lee said she wants to continue to travel and do medical mission work. Lee will attend the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine next year, which will open her up to new opportunities to help others as well.

Hastings College science professors pushed Lee to be her best. She’s always been successful in school, but she said her professors continue to push her to exceed their expectations.

“I feel like they are invested in my future and have pushed me to shoot higher than what I thought for myself while applying to medical schools,” she said.

Hastings College helped Lee travel to Honduras through a Student Scholarship Fund, a scholarship provided by the college to allow students to go to conferences, research projects and traveling abroad.

By Courtney Hanson, a junior from Brookings, South Dakota, majoring in communication studies and philosophy and religion

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