FARMINGTON – The Franklin Memorial Hospital’s Nursing Forum decided to make Nurses’ Day more meaningful this year by raising money to help a motivated and dedicated third-world nurse continue her education.

Gloria Monenegro is an LPN equivalent nurse who works at the Maria Luisa Ortiz Cooperative and Women’s Center in Mulukuk, a rural village in the heart of Nicaragua. The center was established in 1991 by 25 women from the impoverished community who were seeking adequate reproductive healthcare for themselves and for their children.

Today the Maria Luisa Ortiz Center treats an average of 12,500 patients a year. The center is the primary health provider for the people of Mulukuk and the surrounding area. Services focus on disease prevention and women’s and children’s health.

Monenegro is working toward an advanced maternal and child health degree to become credentialed (equal to a registered nurse in this country). The education will take two years and cost approximately $2,400, an exorbitant amount considering that most women in Nicaragua earn less than $15 a month.

FMH nurses learned of Monenegro from Dr. Connie Adler, a family practitioner who practices at Pine Tree Women’s Care and has been to the center five times. According to Adler, Monenegro delivers half of the babies born in the clinic.

Monenegro also diagnoses and treats patients in primary care for conditions like malaria, diabetes, parasitic infection, dehydration and high blood pressure. She provides comprehensive women’s care and is on-call every other night for emergencies.

To raise the money, the forum’s first undertaking was to set up a loose change challenge with buckets and piggy banks throughout hospital units and in physician offices that raised $539. A silent auction featuring the talents and crafts of nursing staff was later held, raising $1,658. With a few last minute donations, the overall total went up to $2,387.

Adler visited the Nicaraguan clinic and told Monenegro of the gift she would receive from the nurses at the Farmington hospital.

“It is hard to describe how moved, excited, and grateful Gloria was when I told her what our nurses had done. She was amazed that a group of nurses from so far away would take so much interest in her life,” Adler said.

“I, too, really appreciate what our nurses have done to increase her knowledge and experience,” Adler said. “It will help thousands of people in her community.”

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