As a teenager growing up in central Uganda, Brenda Shattuck ’18 assisted with her mother’s midwifery duties. In their home in the village of Nkuke, Shattuck would prepare the women’s rooms and help them bathe.
Sometimes she walked with the expectant mothers. “I would run back and tell my mom if they were in labor,” recalls Shattuck, currently a junior on the way to earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Her desire to be a nurse started in Nkuke, and that is where she’ll take her Norwich education after she graduates. “My goal is to go back and try to educate people about some of those things that are vital in nursing,” Shattuck says. “I want to work with my mom and other midwives to …share my education with them.”
During summers, Shattuck lives in Uganda, helping her mother with midwifery and volunteering at a hospital, assisting expectant mothers who are HIV-positive. One of her goals is to increase communication between midwives in her village and medical professionals at the local hospital. Not an easy task in a region where motor vehicles are uncommon.
With the help of Ann Marchewka, interim program director of the School of Nursing, Shattuck is exploring opportunities whereby Norwich nursing students could visit Uganda to learn about medical care there. Likewise, Ugandan students could visit Norwich, nearby hospitals, or other healthcare facilities.
Shattuck knows that, anywhere in the world, education is key to improving the practice of healthcare—including midwifery. “The midwives don’t have a lot of education. Maybe their mothers did it, and they watched,” Shattuck says. “Seeing all the work my mother does without education for expectant mothers, I thought she could do a lot more if she had education. I can be a big asset to the people there.” – Diana L. Weggler
The Norwich Record | Fall 2016