Courtney Townsend is a Cape Girardeau-grown nursing major with unique plans for the summer. With a group of doctors, nurses and pre-med students, she assists with medical missions in places such as Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize. Aside from providing great practice for her Spanish minor, “This is where I decided on a career in the health field and I feel most helpful.”
The experience undoubtedly prepared her for her externship. “I always knew I would like being a nurse extern, but it surprises me just how much I learn and how it never gets old. There is always a new patient with an interesting case, and every shift is an awesome learning experience.”
When she’s not working at the hospital, Courtney is involved in the Student Nursing Association (SNA), is also a member of the Missouri Nurses Association (MONSA), National Student Nurses Association (NSNA), and Remix at Cape First. Her advice to other students is to take “every opportunity to get involved in campus groups, activities, and volunteer work.” This should come as no surprise since her involvement in SNA led her to her externship employer. Courtney says “the relationships and connections you build here really will last you a lifetime. Study, work hard, don’t wait until the last minute, but also have fun.” Courtney plans to attend graduate school and receive her master’s in nursing. Eventually, she hopes to work as a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist, possibly in a bilingual area.
Over winter break, Courtney took part in the Transcultural European Tour, and visited France, Germany and Switzerland. She says “It was amazing getting a taste of another culture. The people, the food and transportation all were amazing.” Aside from visiting the Louvre, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, she and her fellow students toured local school systems, spoke with teachers and participated in a conference with French nursing students. The chance to compare notes on nursing education was a rare and unique experience. To get the most from the trip, the group “lived like the French!” But Courtney says one of the coolest parts of the trip was walking across the Dreilaenderbruecke, a 230 meter pedestrian bridge linking France and Germany.
Back home, Courtney’s idea of fun is hanging out with friends, getting ice cream from Port Cape, and walking along the river with her dachshund Holly.
She says everyone should visit Caye Caulker in Belize. “They have white beaches with beautiful light blue water where seagulls scoop fish out of the sea.” She also has some big plans for her future travels. “I have a plan to reach every continent by the time I am 35. I still don’t know how I’m going to do Antarctica. …”