IRT missions for nursing students

Goodwin Nursing students return to Appalachia to provide medical assistance

On August 11, 2022, students from Goodwin University’s nursing program will once again travel to Wise County, Virginia, — part of the Appalachian region — to help bring critically needed medical attention to area residents who typically have little to no access to healthcare. This year, the students will collaborate with the Navy Reserve on an Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) mission. Medical IRT missions provide training opportunities to military units while benefiting communities through no-cost healthcare. Services include optometry, health exams, dental, and public health education. Care is delivered by credentialed healthcare providers and no one is turned away.

These missions are typically conducted at fairgrounds and may last for several days or weeks at a time. In the past, hundreds of Wise county residents have camped out overnight in order to see the medical professionals. For the majority of participants, the trip to the IRT mission will be the only medical care they receive over the course of the year.

The Goodwin students will be on site from August 11 to 18. The University had arranged for nursing students to travel to Wise County in the past, but the COVID pandemic has prevented that for the past few years. Goodwin Nursing Department faculty member and trip facilitator Sue Grabowski is thrilled that students will once again be able to have this experience.

“It’s wonderful to be able to participate in this mission again,” Grabowski comments. “Not only do our students get to practice caregiving under pretty extreme circumstances, but they also get to examine the root causes of health issue — the prevalence of diabetes within a particular population, for example. It’s amazing training that is almost impossible to find elsewhere.”

Program director for the associate degree program in Nursing at Goodwin Bruce Hoffman echoes that thought: “This medical mission trip is such an incredible learning opportunity and experience for our students. It allows us to support our students and contribute to the greater good, which is foundational to Goodwin’s mission of bridging education and community.”

Support for the Goodwin students to have this professional enrichment experience is provided by the Stanley D. and Hinda N. Fisher Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Hartford Foundation that also supported the first mission in 2019. Grant funding for both missions exceeds $13,000. The University is incredibly grateful for this support, which benefits not only the current students but the many individuals who will be entrusted to their care in the future careers as well.

The Goodwin students will be posting blog entries detailing their 2022 medical mission experience. Follow their day-to-day activities at

Learn more about Goodwin’s Nursing programs:
Associate Nursing Degree
Accelerated BSN