Ashland University Nursing Students and Faculty Travel to Navajo Reservation

Ashland University Nursing Students and Faculty Travel to Navajo Reservation

Ashland University nursing students and faculty traveled to Window Rock, Ariz., on May 11-17 as part of the Navajo Cultural Immersion course, HS 380.

The students who participated in the week long immersion were Brooke Agnes, Alicia Fulk, Breann Gindlesberger, Allison Johnson, Katelyn Osborne, Kaitlyn Runser, Jaclyn Runser, Robyn Siburt, Olivia Sprague, Hannah Thome. Faculty members Sharon See and Nancy Thorne led the students on this cultural journey.

As part of the trip, the students spent three days at the Fort Defiance Indian Hospital – the Tse’hootsoi’ Medical Center. While at the hospital, students learned how traditional Navajo healing practices are integrated into western medicine. They had the opportunity to see traditional Navajo Hogans and sweat lodges and how they are used in patient care.

The students and faculty also were involved in a traditional blessing ceremony led by Aaron Sam, a traditional Navajo healer employed by the hospital. Students observed both Christian and traditional Navajo beliefs in the blessing ceremony; herbs, feathers, singing and praying were all part of the blessing ceremony.

Students spent two days traveling with the home care nurses to visit patients on the reservation. The week included a picnic at the Rio Puerco Community Center. At the youth center, AU nursing students provided a picnic dinner, a wind chime craft, face painting and played basketball with the children.

During the week long immersion, students enjoyed the beautiful landscape of the reservation with a hike to the top of Window Rock and Canyon De Chelly.

The Navajo Cultural Immersion course, HS 380, is offered every spring semester. During pre-immersion, students study the Navajo culture and traditional healing practices and in May, students travel to the Navajo Reservation for a week long immersion.

For more information about this exciting opportunity, please contact Sharon See at or Nancy Thorne at  There will be information sessions early in the fall semester for interested students. It is offered as a three credit hour border crossing or course with study away.

Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###