Kate Groton, For The Miami Student

During Miami University’s winter term, 15 nursing students traveled to Oklahoma to assist the Miami Tribe and get hands-on nursing experience.

The students were from Hamilton, Middletown and Oxford campuses and all took nursing 305, “Cultural Perspectives in Healthcare,” which satisfies Miami’s global perspectives requirement and is a nursing elective. Students were sophomores, juniors, seniors, and RN-BSN students – registered nurses returning for a bachelors in science and nursing.

Assistant Professor of Nursing at Miami’s Hamilton campus Stephanie Nicely helped organize the trip along with Suzanne Stricklin, another Miami Hamilton nursing professor. The group worked at a preschool as well as an elderly care center.

“At the Leonard Learning Center, which is a preschool for children in the Miami Tribe, the students taught the kids about nutrition and exercise,” Nicely said. “Everyday, they would help the kids create a healthy snack.”

Tracy Rogers, a teacher at Leonard Learning Center, said the school was happy Miami students were able to help out.

“The kids did have fun with the students, especially the one on one time they had with the students,” Rogers said.

Rogers said the children were very enthusiastic and excited to work with new faces. She explained the nursing students brought many new ideas to the table.

“One child even told me some facts about the heart that he learned while working with the 305 students,” Rogers said.

Along with teaching preschoolers, the students also taught the elderly about diabetes, Miami Middletown senior Jonathan Hibbs said.

“As we taught them about diabetes, they taught us about their culture,” Hibbs said.

Hibbs said the program was a life changing experience and that his acceptance into the Miami culture was “beyond amazing.”

Nicely said the group stayed in a house owned by the tribe.

In the evenings, they participated in tribal activities to learn more about the Miami people. In their free time, the students toured the town in which they were staying and further immersed themselves in the native culture.

“We had a tour of the Miami, Oklahoma area and tribal properties and lands with the Chief Doug and Second Chief Dustin,” Sticklin said.

One evening, a lady of the tribe taught the students about beading and weaving bags, Hibbs said. The experience encouraged him to get a tattoo of three feathers, which symbolizes the Miami tribe he was so moved by meeting.

“The ink doesn’t run as deep as my heart and blood, but it’s the closest I could get,” Hibbs said.