Nurse Theresa (Jones) Wood has traveled the world, taking part in medical missions, and she journeyed to Dayville School Feb. 8 to share her experiences with the students.
Dayville teacher Margee Powell, who has known Wood since grade school, invited her to give a presentation.
Wood, who is a Mt. Vernon High School alumnus, works as a registered nurse at St. Charles Health System Prineville and in emergency rooms throughout Central Oregon. She also teaches neonatal resuscitation.
She often travels at her own expense when volunteering with Medical Teams International, which is based in Tigard.
Dayville’s sixth- through 12th-grade students watched her slide show presentation, which included photos of her and other medical professionals with patients they’ve served overseas.
Wood has delivered medical care during natural disasters and at refugee camps. She also trains midwives, nurses and doctors in developing countries.
She said several of the students met with her afterward to thank her and ask more about her experiences.
“They were captivated by the pictures and the story,” Wood told the Eagle. “It was a good interaction and experience.”
A passion of hers is a program called Helping Babies Breathe, which was the basis of her master’s thesis, teaching techniques to save babies in respiratory distress.
She’s shared the program in developing countries, including Papua New Guinea and countries in Africa.
“It’s very rewarding, especially when you hear very shortly after the class that they’ve applied the training and are saving babies,” she said, adding the positive feedback is almost instantaneous.
Her most recent trip was to Bangladesh, where she cared for refugees escaping ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.
Wood said working in refugee situations has been especially humbling, hearing their stories, sharing hugs and giving medical care.
“People are fleeing horrific atrocities,” she said.
She hoped the students would find ways to apply their own talents in service.
“We’re all made with gifts,” she said, adding she hopes the students don’t let location or financial concerns prevent them from moving toward their dreams.
Powell said her friend has kept up with her through the years, sharing photos from her travels with Medical Teams International.
“We thought it might be really great to share it with our middle and high school students to inspire them and show them that one person can make a difference,” Powell said. “Whether it be through a medical career, volunteering in their own community, or serving as a missionary halfway around the world, there are people in need, and it only takes a willingness to serve others.”