Denver School of Nursing Students Bring Supplies, Healthcare to Isolated Villagers in Peru

In a second Global Health Perspectives (GHP) 2015 health internship in villages along the Amazon River, the Denver School of Nursing (DSN) student and faculty team provided community health education and vaccinations to three villages and to hospitalized patients in Iquitos, Peru, said Dr. Marcia Bankirer, president, DSN (

“The Hospital Regional de Loreto in Iquitos has an outstanding Neonatal Care Unit (NICU) and burn unit,” said Marguerite Distel, RN, DSN assistant professor and GHP academic coordinator who accompanied the student team. “There, students witnessed how compassionate care can be offered even when the medical facility has limited resources. They also witnessed the similarities and differences between healthcare systems in Peru and America.  For example, in Peru, emergency medical services were provided in an open air hallway. Dialysis clinics were outdoors. In the hospital, there were few windows, no air conditioning and no chemotherapy or radiation treatment available.”

Cervical cancer among Peruvian women is at the highest worldwide levels.  “Women who need treatment often forego receiving care because the treatment facility is in Lima,” Distel said.  “Women often do not receive screening or diagnosis because they fear that their absence in their community would unbalance their village.”

DSN students Laura Alcorn, Desiree Davis, Madelyn McMenamin, Xochitl Moreno, Jennie Murch and Megan Pickering led obstetrics, pediatrics and disease education and treatment courses in three Amazonian villages, Tres de Mayo, San Pedro and Canada, all on the Napo River, a tributary of the Amazon. The worked with area midwives to offer information on identification and treatment of parasites, back health, wound care, dental care, breast examinations, water sterilization and handwashing.

“The people we cared for are so isolated and, yet, so deeply appreciative of the healthcare services we and DB Peru offered them,” said DSN student Murch. “We saw first-hand the impact of community on health and social issues.  One day, we led education stations at a village that was hosting a soccer tournament.  People from 13 villages came, traveling by boat as far as 13 miles away and coming as early as 6 a.m.  We provided reading glasses, health screenings and wound care. We gave vaccinations, especially for tetanus, because so many villagers injure themselves with their machetes when they work in their fields.  We saw how, as nurses, we can make an impact and what can be accomplished that is immediately helpful and sustainable.”

About Denver School of Nursing (DSN)
Denver School  of Nursing, 1401 19th St., Denver, is a private, post-secondary college that provides educational programs and training for nursing professionals. The college specializes in offering rigorous curricula, clinical site-based academic programs toward associate and bachelor degrees in nursing and distance-delivered academic programs toward a bachelor degree in nursing. DSN is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), (, (800-621-7440). Its associate and baccalaureate programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326 (404-975-5000). DSN is granted full approval for its associate and bachelors nursing programs by the Colorado State Board of Nursing. National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) approval is maintained through the Colorado Department of Higher Education. For more information, call 303-292-0015 or visit