U of A Nursing Student Serves as Translator on Mission Trip Along the Amazon River

Apr 25, 2019 | Eleanor Mann School of Nursing

Mission Trip, Amazon River

Kelly Ribeiro, a student in the R.N. to B.S.N. program at the university’s Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, recently served as a translator on a mission trip along the Amazon River.

Ribeiro joined medical students, social workers, an occupational therapist and a speech therapist from Loma Linda University of California to work with people living in villages along the Amazon. The experience is like no other, she said.

“One of my goals as a nurse is to work in the missionary field on the Amazon River and provide health care, participate in health fairs and other activities,” she said. “I have been able to participate several times over the last couple of years and it has been life changing. We stay on a boat, sleeping in hammocks as we float down the Amazon River, stopping at remote villages along the way. My parents were missionaries for many years in the same area in the 1960s.”

Ribeiro said she wants to encourage young health care professionals to better understand diversity and to share their professional skills to help others.

“I feel that the experience brings a whole new meaning to cultural differences, language barriers and learning from diversity,” she said. “This rewarding experience can enhance personal and professional lives forever. I was personally blessed by the testimonies this group of students shared after our trip.”

Ribeiro has worked at Ozarks Community Hospital in Gravette since 2013 on the medical-surgical floor. She graduated as and became a registered nurse in July 2018, then started classes in the U of A’s R.N. to B.S.N. program last fall.

Since Ribeiro had no Internet access, phone service or electricity on the mission trip, professor Ginger LeAnn Holloway worked with her to complete U of A assignments early or with an extended deadline.

Holloway said she finds it inspiring that Ribeiro used her vacation time to provide valuable translation services and nursing care as an R.N. in remote villages.

“Kelly is an example of the diverse, dedicated, and exceptional nurses who are choosing to advance their knowledge at the University of Arkansas through the R.N. to B.S.N. online program,” she said. “Kelly, like the majority of those students, also continues to serve the public in a full-time position in the healthcare system.”

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