A Beaver Dam High School alum recently got back from a medical mission trip in Ghana, where she learned more about pediatric nursing.
Aryanna Frinak, a 2014 BDHS graduate, is studying at Waukesha County Technical College to become a nurse. The 21-year-old’s goal is to become a pediatric nurse.
“Growing up, I knew I always wanted to work with kids. I just wasn’t quite sure how,” Frinak said. “As I continued through my general ed courses in my first years of university, I took a heavy interest in nursing and knew pediatric nursing was the right fit for me. I love kids and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my career than helping them during some of the most trying periods of their life.”
Frinak left the country on Feb. 27 and returned on April 6 after learning about mission work through a friend.
“One of my close friends, Jersey Hoffner, is a missionary through an organization called Overland Missions,” Frinak said. “She has a base in Zambia, Africa, and spends 9 months out of the year traveling the world to share her mission. Jersey had a major influence on my decision to travel to Ghana and pursue the medical relief program.”
Frinak found International Volunteer Headquarters after a lot of research.
“International Volunteer Headquarters was the best organization to fit my forte of getting enough hands-on pediatric medical experience,” Frinak said. “In my opinion, Ghana was the country that offered a good mix of challenge and outreach.”
Frinak traveled to Ghana alone, but met many people after she arrived.
“One of the benefits of going through the organization IVHQ was that there are people from all over the world that are able to participate in the program at the same time as you,” Frinak said.
She lived with a local family in the village of Frankadua and stayed with several other volunteers.
“Everyone had a different length of stay and location based on their program choice,” Frinak said. “I spent my first two weeks walking 15 minutes to their local clinic, where I helped with paper charting, prenatal care, vaccinations, wound care and occasionally in the delivery room. The next three weeks of my stay, I spent doing medical outreaches. The medical volunteers and I would travel to local schools and orphanages where we provided malaria testing and medication administration, as well as wound care, to all of the children.”
On her first day at the clinic, she saw a local woman delivering a child.
“Even with a strong language barrier and scarce resources, the midwife and I worked together to see that this woman and her baby had a successful delivery,” Frinak said. “This is just one example of how I was able to provide assistance to the people of Ghana, as well as expand my own medical skills.”
Frinak is back in school and has a desire to achieve a master’s degree in nursing, with an emphasis on pediatrics.
“I feel that my experience in Ghana helped shape me into a more valuable nurse,” Frinak said. “I am so appreciative of the healthcare resources and education that we have access to here in the United States. With this in mind, I now have an even greater drive to purse pediatric nursing, in hopes that I can help kids all over the world.”