By Ongelique Conflenti
Ongelique is a sophomore at Ball State University, where she is also a member of the Timmy Global Health student chapter. She is a recent recipient of Timmy’s Hank Benjamin Student Travel Scholarship and she received funding to participate on her student chapter’s medical trip to the Amazon Basin in March 2014. This blog post highlights her experiences from the trip and outlines how she hopes to use those experiences in her future career as a registered nurse.
Being a member of the Ball State University chapter of Timmy Global Health has greatly impacted my life and has given me countless opportunities for both professional and personal growth. Two of my biggest passions in life are traveling and helping others, and I hope to combine these two loves by one day pursuing a career in travel nursing and international service. My area of interest is global health, and being in my college’s Timmy chapter has ignited a fire in my heart to dedicate my life to supporting global health initiatives.
One facet of Timmy that played a major role in this decision was having the opportunity to spend a week in the Amazon on a medical brigade to Tena, Ecuador this past March. I learned so much from every single person I met, including the over 600 patients we saw, the amazing medical professionals we worked alongside, Timmy staff and translators, and my fellow students. Timmy trips are unlike many other service trip organizations in that you get actual hands-on experience in the medical field—the core focus of these trips is health-based. Each day at clinic I was able to use the nursing skills that I had learned all the way back in Muncie, Indiana at the vitals station, taking each patient’s blood pressure, temperature, pulse, height, and weight and entering it into the brilliant TimmyCare system (Timmy’s own electronic medical record). Every single patient that came through the clinic made their way through our station, so I also had the chance to see first-hand the large variety of medical diagnoses and health issues each community was facing. Throw in the fact that you are doing this type of work in a culturally vibrant and enriching environment such as Ecuador, and this experience is irreplaceable to anyone seeking a career as a globally conscious healthcare professional.
The experience of being a part of Timmy has also impacted my own personal growth in more ways than I can even attempt to convey in a single blog post. As I was thinking about what I wanted to write this blog post on, I asked myself, “What does it mean to be Timmy?” If you had asked me this question this time last year, I probably couldn’t have told you. But the past year has been a whirlwind, and becoming more involved with Timmy throughout my sophomore year was one of the best decisions of my life.
Through Timmy I have met a multitude of like-minded peers who also genuinely care about global health disparities and they have been a wonderful source of encouragement, laughter, and inspiration in my life. Timmy has provided me with the opportunity to experience the world outside of Indiana and to have my eyes opened to how beautifully limitless that world is. Being involved with Timmy has also been a constant learning experience. I have learned first-hand that even though those in different parts of the world may not be as financially fortunate as me, that is not nearly the most important thing in life, and it in no way determines a person’s happiness. I have learned that even though I could only speak about five words of Spanish upon arriving in Ecuador, a smile translates well in any language. And lastly, I have learned that the work Timmy Global Health is doing to expand access to sustainable healthcare is not only important today, but is crucial to the mission of living in a world where everyone has the promise of a healthy future. To me, being “Timmy” means being distinctly aware of the health disparities that exist in the world today, and having an unshakable belief and drive to eliminate these disparities and make the world a better place, one patient at a time. My name is Ongelique Conflenti, and I am proud to say that I am Timmy.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
– Anne Frank