Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing



Research Sponsor

Diane Lorenzen

First Reader

Michele Enlow

Second Reader

Lisa Hart



Purpose. The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences and perceptions of university students and faculty after going on a medical mission trip to Ghana, Africa related to the health and illness beliefs of the Ghanaian people.

Background. Many organizations plan and conduct health mission trips. Although, many organizations are focused on improving health in developing countries, some may not understand cultural values and the health problems in those countries. “Improving health” is a complicated problem in developing countries and is hard to understand how those in the countries recognize health and illness.

Methodology. A purposeful, convenience sample was recruited from students and faculty from a Midwestern university who have traveled on a medical mission trip to Ghana, Africa. Individual interviews were conducted, audio recorded, and demographic data was collected. Participants responded to questions about experiences of Ghanaian health practices and beliefs.

Findings. Five common themes were found: Role of spirituality in mental, physical, and community health; education; priority of health: Ghanaian view versus American view; living conditions; and wound care.

Conclusion. The information gathered in the study can help others understand the health beliefs of another culture, better prepare themselves as a participant on a medical mission trip and more effectively implement approaches of care.