Nursing students raising funds for 2nd medical mis...

Nursing students raising funds for 2nd medical mission to Guatemala

The nurses of the future are raising money to fund a mission of mercy to Central America.

Students from MTSU’s School of Nursing will conduct a volleyball tournament from 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, at the Health, Wellness and Recreation Center on campus and an April 14-16 silent auction for prizes, donated by local businesses, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 14-16 daily on the first floor of the Student Union.

Student Beth Schaller takes the temperature of a young girl during the MTSU School of Nursing’s 2013 medical mission to Guatemala. (photos submitted)

Proceeds from these events will help pay for 14 nursing students to provide health care and education to about 700 residents of Los Robles, a poverty-stricken village outside Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Groups of students will be in the country May 17-24 and May 24-31.

“We are looking to not only provide kids with needed health and treatment but also education in hygiene and body parts,” said Dr. Richard Meeks, an assistant professor of nursing at MTSU, who will lead the mission.

Meeks said the primary concern in Los Robles is the consumption of parasites through unsanitary food and drinking water.

“We are undergoing a battery of tests, including some preventative antibiotics, to help us ward off those parasites,” Meeks said.

Leading the student delegation is 22-year-old Destin Goins, a nursing major who was born in Nashville and lives in Chattanooga and whose world travels include Mexico, Italy and Kenya.

Goins already has a bachelor’s degree in theory composition with an emphasis in piano from MTSU, but he changed career directions after taking a course in anatomy and physiology.

Kelsey Davis holds a young boy while fellow student Bethany Baker holds a stethoscope to his stomach during the MTSU School of Nursing’s 2013 medical mission to Guatemala.

“I’ve always loved working with people,” Goins said. “People tell me I’m a very good communicator. So I started shadowing nurses to see what they actually do. From that, my desire for nursing grew and grew.”

This is the second year the School of Nursing has sent students to Guatemala, but Meeks says this excursion will be tailored to this year’s group.

“We are building their experience according to their desires, the needs of the population down there and the expertise and knowledge base that we have here,” Meeks said.

The students are busy assembling the medical supplies they’ll take with them. The list ranges from antibiotics to health education books in Spanish.

Accompanying the group for at least the first leg of the trip will be Dr. Ric Morris, a professor of Spanish at MTSU, who will shoot documentary video footage of the students’ work.

The cost of the mission is about $1,614.50 per student. They will be partially reimbursed from fundraising money when they return to the United States.

The fee for entering the volleyball tournament is $10. Prizes will be awarded to first-place teams in brackets of four-on-four and six-on-six.

Electronic donations may be made by going to and searching for “MTSU.”

For more information, contact Meeks at 615-494-8657 or or Goins at

Gina K. Logue (