Global Health Initiative

Honduras service trip

The College of Nursing Outreach in Choluteca, Honduras is celebrating its 15th year.

Ann (Angie) Overholt, RN BS MS FNP, an advanced practice nurse graduate of The Ohio State University College of Nursing and Professor Emeritus Kathleen Stone, PhD RN FAAN, began collaborating in 2000 to facilitate an Ohio State University College of Nursing study abroad cultural immersion experience for undergraduate and graduate nursing students. The outreach has grown from five students and Dr. Stone into an interdisciplinary health care team of 36 including nurses, physicians, and pharmacist, nursing students, medical students, pharmacy students and Spanish major students. 

Students are prepared for the experience by attending a 3-credit hour course on four Saturday mornings in the months of January and February.  The classes focus on the country of Honduras: the educational system, education of health care professionals, Honduran culture, common diseases in Honduras and women’s health issues.  As a requirement of the course students must prepare a poster on a relevant health topic in Spanish or present an in-service education class.

Students are provided a hands-on service learning experience over nine days during semester break in March. Choluteca is in the southwestern part of the country. Unlike northern Honduras, Choluteca is a desert-like environment that still has to recover fully from the ravages of Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The average temperature in Choluteca, Honduras in March is 105 degrees. Students work in six rural villages and the Hospital del Sur. The nurse practitioner students, medical students and undergraduate nursing students work in collaborative teams under faculty supervision to deliver care to 1,600 to 1,800 patients over five working days.

Our primary care advanced master’s students including FNP, PNP, ANP, & women’s health students have the opportunity to hold clinics at several sites in Choluteca and some of the surrounding communities where health care is minimally accessible.  Approximately 250 women’s health exams are performed each year, often for Honduran women that have never had a prior examination.

Undergraduate students as collaborative team members perform intake assessment, diabetes screening, hypertension screening, and childhood assessments. Undergraduates perform any required treatments including wound care, nebulizer treatments, and diabetic instruction. The students work directly with the pharmacist and the PharmD students in the prescription, teaching and distribution of medications. As patients who require further care are identified, referrals are made to a local Honduran physician who has worked with the group for several years. Interpreters from the local bilingual high school and Spanish major students from The Ohio State University Department of Spanish Linguistics work with us to provide translations for providers who do not speak Spanish.

Students present health care posters in Spanish on a relevant health care topic to the Hondurans as they await care in our clinics. Topics range from hand washing, diabetes, asthma and hypertension to scabies, malaria and CPR. Select students prepare an oral teaching session to 30 Honduran lay health care workers on such topics as immediate burn care, splinting a fracture, normal child development and common skin ailments. The undergraduate nursing students work in the medical-surgical men’s and women’s wards and the pediatric ward of the Hospital del Sur.  These students provide in-service education for the nursing staff. 

Students have reported on evaluations that this study abroad experience was extremely valuable, incredibly enriching and life changing. This experience has significantly influenced the careers of graduating students many of who have returned to the United States to work with underserved populations in the US while others have worked in global health initiatives in Cambodia, El Salvador & Haiti.

Requirements for participation in the trip include:

  • Senior nursing student in good academic standing
  • Third-year graduate entry students in family, adult, pediatric or women’s health specialty
  • Traditional Master’s students in their final year in the same set of specialties
  • A positive reference from a faculty person who has supervised one of their clinical courses 

Application is made in September and final decisions are made by early October. Students are responsible for the cost of the trip, typically around $1,500. They must attend the 3-credit, hour long course and a packing day before we travel.

Students are required to have current immunizations (Hepatitis A and B) and have malaria prophylaxis for the trip. Students should not have any medical or emotional conditions that will require special care during the trip. Students should be able to tolerate dust, heat, traveling over the mountains in a 24-seat passenger van, and living conditions that are not luxurious.

The faculty selection committee reserves the right to make selection of the student participants. All participants are required to pass a background check and purchase OSU travel insurance from the office of International Affairs.

All participants are required to sign a mission agreement statement with the supporting non-governmental organization (NGO).

There are 10 competitive $500 scholarship available.


For additional information or to ask questions, please contact:

Dr. Kathleen Stone PhD RN FAAN at or (614) 946-6219

Dr. Elizabeth Barker PhD RN FNP FAAN at or (614) 292-5684


Informational meetings regarding the outreach for March 10-18, 2016 are held on the following dates. Participants must attend one of the following meetings:

Friday, September 4, 2015 12:30-1:30 Room 168
Tuesday, September 8, 2015 3:30-4:30 Room 168
Friday, September 11, 2015 12:30-1:30 Room 168
Tuesday, September 15, 2015 3:30-4:30 Room 168
Friday, September 18, 2015 12:30-1:30 Room 168

Application deadline is noon Friday September 25, 2015.


Download the application here.