I have known I wanted to participate in a medical mission trip since before I was a nurse; Villanova and the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing helped lay that groundwork for me. I had four years of memorable teaching moments, but almost none compared to noticing a banner as I left St. Mary’s Hall after an NCLEX review course. I distinctly remember reading on the banner as I walked out of Villanova for the last time as a student: “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Luke 12:48. That’s what it means to be a Villanova nurse, I thought to myself.

In November, I had the pleasure of traveling to the Uganda Heart Institute in Kampala for a two-week medical mission trip. Our team was comprised of one surgeon, two anesthesiologists, two cardiologists, four ICU nurses, one scrub nurse, one biomedical engineer, and one perfusionist. Together we successfully completed 12 open-heart surgeries. The majority of the cases were valve replacement, repairs related to rheumatic heart disease and congenital repairs.

It was the opportunity of a lifetime, and of course, I had to bring a piece of Villanova [her scrubs] with me since it was Villanova that got me there in the first place. I was given a lot as a Villanova nurse, and this trip allowed me to give back so much more than I ever imagined possible.

– Erin Esposito Shand, BSN, RN, CCRN, CPN
Staff nurse, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Children’s National Health System