Br. Duffy’s Students in Mission

January 2018 Bush Clinic in Albion Gully

For the past six years, our province has helped to fund “bush clinics” served by nursing students of Elms College School of Nursing (Chicopee, MA), led by their Project Coordinator and Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Br. Michael Duffy, OFM Conv., DNP, APRN, ANP-BC. Br. Duffy also serves at the University as the Accelerated Second Degree Program Coordinator and as a Professor, having launched the ELMS caRe vaN, a 32-foot converted camper serving as a mobile nursing unit with two treatment stations, a full exam room and a five seat waiting area which doubles as a warming area as needed, providing free health and nursing care to the homeless and underserved of Chicopee, including blood pressure checks and monitoring, blood sugar checks, foot care, episodic first aid, minor wound care, frostbite checks, patient education on these and other topics, and other healthcare needs that arise.).
Br. Duffy formerly served our province as a missionary in Jamaica and the areas served there each year by his students are chosen because of their lack of access to healthcare or lack of finances to access the care they need. In addition, for the past four years, the groups have run an annual worming clinic at the Sisters of Mercy – St. John Bosco Boys Home; treating 100 boys. Traditionally the group utilizes a parish church or basic school as a make shift clinic. They set up registration on the porch, triage in the back, exams in the sacristy or side room, and a pharmacy in the front. Each patient is seen free of charge and is then given sufficient medications such as blood pressure medicine, oral hypoglycemics, antibiotics, vitamins and ibuprofen (donated through one of our pastoral ministries: St. Paul Catholic Church, in Kensington, CT). After their time in Jamaica, the students leave behind additional funds for medication that will be distributed later through the diocesan dispensary and clinic, which both accept prescriptions written by Br. Duffy.
The students also do their own fundraising in order to participate, which allows the funding provided by our province and other supply donors to be used for bush clinic patient care.
Br. Duffy explains that this continued “Mission” experience for the next generation is an opportunity to expose the need and the service now, as students, so they can pay it forward after graduation. The students spend several weeks in service where they learn to make use of the resources they have, while attending to the needs of those who have little. Over the years, the students have learned much about the culture of those they serve while attending to the medical needs of well over 1000 patients, in the Diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica, WI.