The difference being made in healthcare in Honduras is amazing, and much of it is due to the needs seen by those serving in Honduras. Missionaries Larry and Angie Overholt have been instrumental in changing the way Honduras meets the medical needs of its people. Read this exciting article from the Spring 2017 issue of The Ohio State University College of Nursing’s Transformations in Nursing & Health magazine. Learn how God is using the Overholts and other missionaries to fulfill a great need.
Creating a school of nursing in Honduras
Two emerita professors and an alumna of the College of Nursing succeed in establishing a new high school of nursing in this Central American nation.
By Jennifer Grabmeier
The idea to revolutionize nursing education in Honduras could be a version of an old adage: Visit a community with high-quality nursing care once a year and its people will benefit for a day; teach high-quality nursing to a community, and their health will improve for lifetimes.
Two emeriti professors from the College of Nursing and an alumna and her fellow Buckeye husband turned that thought into a new nursing school that is the first of its kind in Honduras. It is also an exciting new chapter in the College of Nursing’s ongoing outreach to this Central American country, which started with student study abroad trips in 2000.
Ann Overholt, FNP, ’00, ’05 MS, proposed that first trip to faculty to meet the public health requirement for her BSN. Overholt and her husband, Larry (’79, ’05 MS in agricultural extension education), had lived in Honduras for 18 years working as missionaries and had returned to Ohio State to further their education.
Professor Emerita Kathleen Stone, PhD, RN, FAAN, ’72, agreed to go with her and another student, and after the Overholts returned to Honduras, Stone continued taking students to the southernmost state of Choluteca, where the Overholts live. Professor Emerita Elizabeth Barker, PhD, joined the program when she came to Ohio State in 2003.
The study abroad trips, which included physicians, nurses, pharmacists and Spanish majors who served as translators focused on residents in remote rural areas. Eventually, however, the organizers realized visiting the area once a year was not enough.
“Every year for 17 years we’ve had the College of Nursing outreach and it was great, but over the years we realized we weren’t really changing anything,” said Angie Overholt. “Every year we gave out medicines, but we weren’t really impacting long-term change in their health care. We talked about putting our efforts into training the nurses.”
In Honduras, which has 8.1 million people, there are roughly 8,300 nurses—5,600 of whom are in fact nurse’s aides with only a sixth-grade education. “They are the ones who go out and run the clinics and work in the hospital,” said Stone. “They are the go-to people for nursing.” The other 2,700 nurses are educated at the university level and serve as administrators.
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ACT: Thank you for praying for this ministry, and please continue to pray for impact as school continues. May lives be changed for God’s glory!